Practical advice from dad coach Justin Martin on coaching your children.
I started coaching my kids three years ago. One son is seven, and the other will be five next year (maybe I'll get the opportunity to coach my youngest next season).
To recap my last entry: before volunteering to coach your child, make sure to ask your kid permission to coach them. Be clear that you have their approval before you agree to coach. If they agree, do your best to clearly outline that relationship.
Have a conversation to explain that when you're home, you're the parent. When you're on the field, at the rink, or on the pitch, you're coach. Make sure your kid understands the difference.
By doing this, you're arming yourself with ammunition that you and you child will both need when the line between coach and parent starts to blur. By clearly outlining this difference you now have total control on the bench and
at home ("at home" is probably wishful thinking).
When I'm at the rink, on the field or on the court I'm your coach, NOT your dad. A useful explanation is:
"There are 10 kids on your team. If I treat you differently then I treat the other 9 players this will hinder my ability to coach and educate these kids, because they'll think I'm playing favorites. “
Or you can say, "All of your teammates need to know that I'm here to help them as much as I'm there to help you."
Or, you can always try "because I said so." Good luck with that one.
Again, this is a two-way street. Your child must be on board for this adventure. If he or she is waffling, it might be good to find a different way to take part in your kid's life.
I caution you be careful when times get tough on the bench or in the locker room and your kid uses excuses and whines instead of acting as a coachable tough athlete.
When sports for that day are completed, let them know that at home, or in the car ride on the way home, you're their parent. You can talk as parent and son, or coach and pupil. Just be clear which voice you're speaking from.
Another simple but critical reminder for those of you that have a significant other in your life: don’t be a dumbass by forgetting to get their consent to to his experience.
As coach you'll be in charge of taking care of an entire team. Your better half needs to understand and accept that you may be checked out all weekend in order to deal with your team when games or tournaments begin.
Once you commit, these jobs and organizational moments will be your responsibility. Make sure the person holding the bag at home agrees that this is a great use of your time, and a great way to spend more time with your kid or kids.
Actually, maybe that is step one, before you even ask your kid if they want you to coach. If nothing else, you'll always have the "honey I asked if I could coach and you said yes" card to use.
Next up: the issues I dealt with when I started coaching that made me set this groundwork. (You have no idea.) Oh, I also write about whether you should coach your two year old - Or NOT!
It takes a village!
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