6 Tips for Coaching Your Own Kid in Youth Sports

Andrew Sarafa
a youth soccer coach working with players
a youth soccer coach working with players
When it comes to your children and sports, there’s nothing better than being able to pass your knowledge and passion for your favorite game down to your kids. As a parent, one of your main goal is to encourage your kids to work hard and give their full effort into anything they choose to do, and it should be no different with sports. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the best tips when it comes to coaching your own child in sports.

Tip #1 – Keeping It Fun

Depending on the age of your child, being sure to keep things fun can make or break your success as a coach. If you push them too hard, they may lose their passion for the sport. But if you don’t push them hard enough, they may never be able to live up to their full potential. Therefore, it’s best to always try and make coaching as fun as possible for you and your child, while still teaching them the principles of sportsmanship and working hard to achieve their goals.
Tiger Woods and his father Earl are a great example of a father coaching his son to greatness. While Earl inspired Tigers hunger for golf, he didn't demand it and Tiger has often noted "The best thing about those practices was that my father always kept it fun".
Coaching Your Own Child in High School
Finding ways to keep things fun for your child is a major key to success when it comes to being a parent coach.

Tip #2 – Putting Your Child in a Position to Succeed

Whether you’re coaching your kid individually or you’re the head coach of your kids sports team, you always want to make sure you’re putting them into a position where they can succeed. Don’t try to force them into playing a position they don’t enjoy playing, or a position where they’re more likely to fail just because you want them to play that position. As long as they’re having fun, putting in their full effort, and improving during every event, you’ll be doing a great job as a coach and parent.

Tip #3 – Understanding Your Motivation for Coaching Your Child

Being able to understand your motives when coaching your own child is key. Oftentimes, parents want to raise their kids to play the sport they love with the goal of them eventually going pro in that sport. While this is the case for some, it isn’t for many, and by doing this you may be taking away time your child could be focusing on another sport or activity they love doing and have the potential to be great at.
By simply asking yourself if you’re pushing your child too hard or forcing them into a sport they really don’t enjoy playing, you can save yourself from becoming the demanding parent who cares more about their own ambition than their child’s happiness and success. As long as you have the right motivations when it comes to why you want to coach your child, you’re on the track of success as a coach.
A great example of a father with good motivation for coaching his kids was Richard Williams with his two daughters Serena and Venus Williams. He spent years teaching himself the game the tennis and passed it down to his two daughters who fell in love with the sport!
a youth soccer team running dribbling drills
Double checking your motivation for coaching your child is critical to maintain a good relationship and be a good coach.

Tip #4 – Be Willing to Listen

Being open and willing to listen to what your child is and isn't saying is critical to your success as a coach and mentor for your child. Your 7 year old might not be willing or able to tell you you’re pushing them too hard or that they can’t meet your expectations. So you need to be able to read in between the lines and know when your child feels like you’re expecting too much from them. You also need to be able to listen if they tell you that you are pushing them too hard and be open to communicating and adapting the way you’re coaching them. It's very important to listen if you don’t want to put any strain on your relationship as a coach or parent.

Tip #5 – Be a Parent First and a Coach Second

Just because you’re coaching your child in their favorite sport, it doesn’t mean you can neglect your duties as a parent to help support your child. While this can be very age and skill level dependent, your child needs to know that you see them as your son or daughter first and not just another player on your team.
You want to be there to help and support them more than you are to yell and push them. Another tip is try not to let your emotions in the moment get the best of you. Team success is important, but your long term relationship with your child is more important.
Kids Playing Sports
Just because you’re coaching your child in their favorite sport, it doesn’t mean you can neglect your duties as a parent to help support and nurture your child.

Tip #6 – Treat All of Your Players the Same

If you’re coaching your kid in a team sport, you need to be able to treat every player on the team equally and not treat your own child in any different manner. You don’t want to be harder on your own child as it can be bad for their self-esteem and could harm your relationship. You also don’t want to go easier on them because the rest of the team might come to resent you as a coach as your child wouldn't be held to the same standards as they are and they'll feel like you're picking favorites.

6 Tips for Coaching Your Own Kid

Coaching your own kid can be a very rewarding experience for both you and your child. Although it requires a lot of hard work, as long as you have the right motivations, are treating your kid fairly, and are pushing them to give their full effort, you’re on track for success as their coach.
Who knows, one day your kid might be giving a speech thanking you for all the extra effort you put in to teach them the right principals while holding up a championship trophy.

Additional Resources

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