No matter how long you have been involved with team sports, you are likely to have come across a time when a coach has picked their own child in a role that they are not deserving of. However, being unbiased is one of the most important factors to consider when finding yourself in the position of coaching your own child.
Aiding the development of your child and ensuring that they are having fun at all times is a difficult enough process, without having a whole team of children to consider also. However, it is crucial that you do not offer any special treatment to your child, whether it be playing them in their preferred position or substituting someone else ahead of them during a match. On the other hand, it is also important that you do not come down on them too hard when they make a mistake, which should be the case with any young player. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the points to consider when your own child is part of the team in which you are coaching.
Set Boundaries Between Yourself & Your Child
As soon as it becomes apparent that you will be looking after your child’s team, it is important to sit down and discuss the situation between each other. While young children are likely to be excited about the prospect, teenagers may well be apprehensive about the prospect or their mother or father mixing with their teammates on a regular basis, meaning that it is vital that you tell them what to expect. During this time, it is also suggested that parents/coaches set some form of boundaries when it comes to how you will interact with your child during training sessions and matches, with failing to do so potentially bringing up some tricky situations.
Consider Talking to Other Parents
Communication with parents is crucial for any coach, however it is perhaps even more important for those who are in charge of their own child, as well as a host of others. Explain to the parents how you will go about things throughout the season, as well as what you expect from the players themselves. We would also suggest that you aim to get other parents on board where possible, even it if is for helping out with minor jobs such as providing snacks or taking photos on matchday.
Keep Playing Time Equal
With the majority of children’s sports teams having been established in order to provide youngsters with a form of enjoyment and physical activity, it is important that coaches give them an equal amount of playing time. It may be tempting to play your child as a striker and build the team around them, however this is unlikely to see them learn much. Instead, give the entire squad an equal opportunity, which includes them playing in different positions on the pitch.
Leave Your Role as Parent at Home
It is easy to let behavioural issues that arise at home drift into your coaching, so be sure to try and forget about such patterns when taking to the field. Whilst this is easier said than done, the process can be achieved by carefully selecting the language in which you are using when carrying out coaching sessions and pre-match talks. Also, be sure to treat each individual in the same manner, with either failing to address poor behaviour or positively reinforcing your child likely to cause confusion amongst the rest of the team.
Leave Your Role as Coach on the Pitch
As much as you need to forget about your role as a parent when on the field, it is equally as important to resort back to the position when at home. While offering constructive criticism is acceptable as a coach, you should not harp back to a poor performance on matchday when at home. As well as this, coaches should avoid aiming to introduce additional exercises into their child’s schedule in an attempt to give them a helping hand, with youngsters not requiring any more micromanaging than they already receive.
For youngsters, sport should really only be about one word, fun! However, ensuring that organised physical activity is enjoyable is easier said than done, with everyone having different personalities and needs in this area. So, just how can coaches ensure that they consistently put on engaging sessions?