As a parent-coach are you guilty of treating your kids differently than the other kids on the team? My guess is yes. It is in our nature to give them “special” treatment. All of my coaching experience to this point,has been coaching my kids and their teams. Can you say emotionally vested?
“Oh, he’s that coach”
You are probably saying, “I cannot believe he admitted that, publicly!” Yes, I do admit it, publicly. When I say my kids are treated differently here is what I mean. They are not given more playing time, more plays are not run for them, and they do not get any passes from the coach. Actually it is just the opposite. I have been more inclined to sacrifice my son or daughter’s playing time for another kid on the team, call an unbalanced number of plays in favor of their teammates, and I am
probably harder on them than any other players.
Why do we do this as parents and coaches?
As I said earlier you probably do the same. But why? As I thought about it I came up with a few possible reasons.
- I know my kids and what they are capable of, so when I see their effort lacking, I don’t allow it.
- I don’t want any parents thinking my child is treated special, so I go harder the other way.
- I want to push my kids so they will excel, and stand out among their peers (yes, I admit I want my kids to look and perform very well)
- I know them, they know me, and I love them lots! They know this.
- I know what they can handle, and cannot. As well as how they will react. I am not sure of the other kids so it is a learning and balancing process with them.
A new experience has helped me
Recently, I was given the opportunity to help coach elementary and middle school basketball teams here in my local area. I have been helping out in some capacity throughout the season, but this was my first opportunity to actually be on the floor and on the bench. In addition the following couple of days I was asked to help out with practice. My children are not on either team, so my coaching was truly equal opportunity. Every player no matter their skill level, or anything else, was held to the same standards. My expectations were for them to play hard, and perform to the best of their respective abilities, while showing sportsmanship. My job was to help them do this.
Treating every player the same…even your own
Now that I have a new perspective and have shown the ability to coach without bias, I will soon be able to put this “new” method into practice. A new basketball season is starting for my son, and I know many of his teammates very well on this team. My difficult task will be to coach him the same as everyone else. My expectations are that it can be done, but it will not be easy. The first step is to realize I had shown a difference. Below are some additional steps I’ll be taking to help.
- Have your game/practice plans and playing times planned in advance. Take out the emotion.
- Have other coaches/parents help and together define roles for you all. You are a team as well.
- Make sure your child does not end up in your line every drill. Have them equally work with the other coaches
- Set goals with your child at the beginning of the season, and share them with the other coaches.
- Save some of your coaching for the individual workouts and play sessions at home.
Question: Have you experienced this? Do you coach your kids different, or have you witnessed this with other parent-coaches? Please share in the comment section below your experience and it was handled.
Jackie Bledsoe, Jr. writes a Family Leadership blog at jackiebledsoe.com. He is a sports parent of three, has played sports for over 30 years, including the collegiate level, and coached youth sports for the past eight years. You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter (@jbledsoejr).