5 Tips for Coaching Your Child in Youth Sports


5 Tips for Coaching Your Child in Youth Sports
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Coaching your son or daughter on a sports team is tough. You have to keep everyone happy, the parents, the players, your own family. That’s a lot of people to keep happy, and I bet your exhausted. We have experience in coaching family members and have a few helpful tips to help you with this tough role.

Don’t Let These Obstacles Keep You From Coaching

Coaching Your Child in SportsI know with all these obstacles outlined coaching your child might seem a little daunting, but don’t let them deter you. If you have skills or knowledge in a sport share them with others. The trick is treating each and every one of your players like they were your own son or daughter. My father is great at this, he coaches Anderson High School and the California Grapettes – Hawkins Softball Teams. I have seen it time and time again, he invests himself in his athletes. He knowns their personalities, truly cares for them, and want’s them to be successful. He might not be perfect in some parents eyes, or administration, however I know these people will have an extremely hard time finding someone who brings his knowledge, passion for sports, and love for his players. He has coached my, and my sisters. I know he was a big part in driving me to obtain a scholarship in softball to San Jose State, and I know my sister Cheridan Hawkins ( Lefty Pitcher for the Oregon Ducks Pac-12, and three-time Pac-12 Pitcher of the week in her freshman year.) would say the same. Not to mention he is currently coaching my cousin,  who is going to be dominating at University of Riverside, as she recently received a full scholarship in Softball as a Junior in High School.

You can do this to, dedicate yourself to your son or daughter, Treat them well, discipline them when needed, and encourage them daily. Coaching your child can be one of the most fulfilling events in your family’s life.

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5 Obstacles & How to Prevent Them When Coaching Your Child in Youth Sports

When coaching your son or daughter you should be aware of common obstacles or difficulties that can happen and how to prevent them.

 

1. Compensating Because You Are a Parent/Coach:

When you coach your child in youth sports you may criticize their performance and work more than their team mates. While this can be intentional on some coaches parts, it can also be done unintentionally. Many parent coaches over compensate by placing more attention to detail with their own childs performance, attitude, and skills. As a parent coach you might feel like if you don’t discipline your child, or hold them to a higher standard that other parents and players will think you are showing favoritism. The truth is, overcompensating with extra criticism and discipline for your child actually draws more negative attention to you as a coach. You might even alienate your own child and cause them to have a negative experience in sports.

How to Prevent Negative Over Compensation:

The first step is being aware of your attitude and how you communicate to your players. During a practice, or game how many times do you specifically target or draw negative attention to your son or daughter? How many times do you discipline them with extra running, yelling, or repetitions? If you are compensating as a parent coach, then you will notice a pattern. Once you realize you have a problem then you can start making strides to even out your communication to all your players not just your child.

2. Bragging As a Coach and Parent:

This is extremely common in youth sports. As a parent it is natural for you to want to brag about your child. However, if you are a coach this can cause a lot of frustration in other parents. Even if your child is the best on the team, or a stud it’s not a wise choice to constantly compare other players on the team to them, or to talk about how good they are to other parents. This is often the stereotype for a parent coach, and it can cause a lot of animosity not only between you and other parents, but also animosity towards your child.

How to Prevent Animosity from Bragging:

Instead of bragging to other parents about your child, give feedback on their child. Your job as a coach is to make players better and coach them to success. In order to do that they need to know not only how they can improve, but also what they do well. On the California Grapette’s we are constantly coaching not only our players, but also our parents. In my opinion parents are the key to a players success. They support and influence your player on a daily basis, why not give them feedback and things to work on with their child. I guarantee this feedback will be received much better than you talking about your own child.

  3. Jealousy & Politics in Youth Sports

I know this is an ugly subject, however I think it is extremely important that you are prepared for this situation. It is in people’s natures to get jealous, and some people take it even farther and are malicious. Don’t let people like this stick around. You have probably heard that old saying of the one bad grape that spoiled the bunch. This old saying olds true, and sometimes that bad grape can be a parent.

How to prevent negative parents from affecting your team:

Set clear boundaries right away. Hold a parent and coaches meeting at the start of the season, discuss concerns, answer questions, and lay down the boundaries for parents. Here are a few examples of rules you can use:

  • During game play, parents are not allowed in the dugout, on the court, or in the team area. Their place is in the stands and cheering as a fan. 
  • Players are not allowed to leave the player area until after the game or practice. This means, no running into the stands to get food, sunscreen, hair tie’s, etc.. This will happen!
  • Parents are not allowed to coach from the stands or during practice/play time. If they want to teach their son or daughter a technique or critique their play, then they must wait until after practice or the game. This is often very hard for parents, however it is important to establish you role as a coach.
  • If parents have questions, complaints, or concerns they must wait until after games or practice to express their issues. These issues must not be discussed in front of their child.

4. Arguing With Your Child During Games & Practice

This is one of the biggest obstacles as a parent coach. As a coach you expect respect and hold your players to a standard, but what happens if your own child doesn’t give you that respect. Children who are coached by their parents often feel like they could be getting picked on just because they are your son or daughter. It is important for you to remember your new role is hard for them to understand. They know you as a parent first and foremost, and don’t expect you to tell them their performance is poor, or that they need to fix something. One of the most common examples of this is when you criticize your son or daughter and they talk back. When they talk back, and argue with you it sets a bad example for other players.

How to Prevent Arguments With Your Child During Sports:

First things first, have a talk with them before the sport starts. Discuss your expectations of them, and discuss this issue. Explain why it is bad for the entire team and shows weakness when they argue with you. Have a plan ahead of time, if they disagree with something you said to them tell them to hold their tongue until you are in a more private setting. The key to preventing a full-blown argument and melt down is to keep the situation calm, don’t yell and scream at them. This often makes them feel embarrassed in front of their teammates.

5. Disciplining Your Child While Coaching

Even though you are coaching your own child, and you love them, sometimes you have to show a little tough love. If they get out of line, or break a team rule then you have to discipline them. Treat them as if they were another player on the team, make sure your punishment is as severe as it would be for anyone else. Showing that you don’t favor or “baby” your child will get you more respect from your players and parents.

How to Discipline Your Child:

Have a the team rules clearly outlined. If you create a rule for the team it applies to everyone. If your child breaks one of those rules then give them the punishment as if they were another player. There are no excuses, if you don’t treat them like your other players then you will lose respect and trust from other players. This will also drive animosity towards your own child from their teammates.

Hopefully you have found these helpful, please add your comments below.

 

Good Luck!

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A little more about Natasha Hawkins...

Experience: Division 1 Fastpitch Softball player at San Jose State. Degree: B.S in Marketing and Advertising Certifications: Certified Level 1 CrossFit Trainer Interests: She loves the way the brain works and how personalities and attitude can create a warrior of an athlete that will always persevere and make success for themselves. While she is not a certified nutritionist she studies and practices the Paleo diet and Zone eating. Quirk: I am an avid archer and hunter. Yup, it's true. I have shot archery since I could walk, and hunted with my Dad since I was born. I also have a sister (Cheridan Hawkins) who is a stud pitcher for the Oregon Ducks Softball Team and is on the Junior Olympic Team. My youngest sister Charli Hawkins trains with me at CrossFit and is also a catcher on the 12U California Grapettes. Follow Natasha on Twitter: @NatashaBHawkins