Coaching Kids Sports
  • | September 27, 2016
Coaching kids’ sports can be a great way for a parent to get involved in their child’s life and share a bonding experience. It can also put a lot of pressure on children and cause unnecessary tension in the family and even the community as a whole if you let things get out of hand.

If you’ve decided to coach a local youth sports league, great! It’s easy to get caught up in the fervor of competition so here are a few tips to keep in mind to help you stay grounded.

  1. Remember this is about fun. We all know the stereotype of the little league parent screaming at the coach from the stands while their eight-year-old child sits in the dugout, mortified. Don’t be that guy. And if you are the coach: DEFINITELY don’t be that guy. Youth sports are supposed to be fun. Don’t ruin it for the kids.

  2. Leave it on the field. It is important to make the distinction between coach and father. That means: do not play favorites with your kid when you’re on the field and don’t bring any baggage home with you either. Remember: this is a game.

  3. Remember you’re not only a coach, you’re also a teacher. The kids (especially yours) will look to you to see how to act, how to react, and how to behave. You need to set a good example for everyone involved. If you have a legitimate gripe with the officiating or the league, then take it up with the appropriate people at the appropriate time.

  4. You are not a drill sergeant. Don’t act like one. Yes, it’s important to teach discipline, hard work and respect for the game but this doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk about it. It didn’t work out well in Full Metal Jacket, remember?

  5. Remember the other team is made up of kids too. Forget the “let’s go out there and kill them! They suck! They’re garbage!” talk. There’s a time and a place for trash talking and that’s with your buddies over your fantasy football team. Remember the other team is a group of kids as well. Don’t’ demonize them. You’re a teacher, remember? Learning healthy competition is a good thing. Teaching a group of eight year olds to go out and murder the other team because they’re worthless is not a good thing.

  6. Remember that winning isn’t everything. And not just in the new age, everyone gets a trophy just for showing up and trying philosophy. Of course competition is about winning but at a young age sports are about learning discipline and teamwork. It’s about learning how to accept your wins graciously and being humbled by defeat. Winning is fun, sure, and losing feels bad but both are important life lessons to learn.

  7. Leave the flashbacks at home. This is not about you; this is about the kids. We all know the stereotype of the dad who pushes their son into playing a sport to compensate for their own failed dreams of superstardom. Don’t be THAT guy either.

  Coaching kid’s sports can be challenging at times and rewarding at others. Remember that kids need a role model and the structure and discipline that sports provide. Also remember that you are there to give it to them so set a good example.

Good luck.