An extremely powerful bond can be formed between a child and a coach. This bond can teach many important life lessons from interaction skills to resiliency. This bond can be even stronger when a parent fills the position of coach. It can be a uniquely frustrating and difficult position to fill, however, for many parents. A certain skill set needs to be present to interact and connect with the players, including their own child, all while impressing a developed understanding of the game into their minds.
One of the most important skills needed to coach a youth sports team is to have a strong understanding of the sport. The primary job of a youth sports coach is to teach players the fundamentals of the game they are coaching and to create an atmosphere where players are encouraged and supported.
Children of different ages and experience levels will develop at different rates in both physical and emotional aspects. Some kids may be more athletically gifted while others may just be on the team for fun. Some may interact well with their peers, and others may not be as emotionally stable. A coach needs to be able to teach all of these players, including their own child.
The dynamic between a parent coach and a child is often the most challenging dynamic to figure out. Many parent coaches are harsh with their own child, as they have higher expectations. This dynamic could, alternatively, lead to favoritism and opportunities for the coach’s child that were not fully earned or deserved. To limit these issues, a coach needs to understand that when with the team, their primary job is to be a coach. This does not mean they need to stop caring for their own child, but the parent coach should avoid putting their child above or before the other players. A coach needs to help their own child, as well as other players, learn important lessons regarding fundamentals, sportsmanship, and teamwork.
Youth sports are a great way for a parent to connect with their child. Coaching can add a deeper layer of connection and strengthen an important bond between the parent and their child. A parent coach needs to be focused and knowledgeable enough to be a great teacher as they are the primary resource for a group of young, impressionable players.