Parents Recruited to Coach Youth Sports – Might YOU be Next?
If you have a son or daughter involved in youth sports, odds are you will probably be asked at some point about your level of interest in possibly becoming a head or assistant coach of your kid’s team. For most parents, this question catches them off-guard, as they don’t often think about their child’s involvement in youth sports possibly including their role as the coach. Unfortunately, there always seems to be a shortage of youth sport coaches, hence the reason for the likeliness of this future request (Sport Success 360).
So there you are, possibly going from the “parent in the stands” with all the answers to now being the coach — the person who is supposed to have all the answers (of course, it’s always easier to coach from the stands, right?!). How do you lead kids with athletic skill development, physical fitness training, and mental toughness development? Where’s the professional coaching help, athletic trainer, and sport psychologist when you need them?!
For those of you brave enough to take on the role of coach (and I hope many of you will), there are some things you may want to consider before you get started:
- Be objective. This is especially true when you have your child on the team. For some parents, they are seemingly easier on their child and favor him or her more, while others parents actually become even tougher on their own child. Being objective also means putting aside those great parent relationships you previously had in the stands and instead making talent evaluations based on the actual athletic abilities of the kids on the team. While this may not sound too difficult, oftentimes it is — especially if you have become good friends with certain parents on the team whose kids aren’t the most talented.
- Prepare for the transition. While it might seem funny to think about the transition of going from “just another parent in the stands” to becoming the coach, most parents find this to be a lot more challenging than they originally thought. Even in youth sports things can get real serious in a hurry, and the truth is some coaches get scapegoated as being “the bad guy” when they don’t start or play a kid in a game. Prior to becoming a coach, it’s easy to sit back and second-guess the coach — but this all changes as soon as it’s you on the sideline making the calls.
- Prepare for the time commitment. One mistake parents often make when evaluating the coach is the amount of time and effort that goes into coaching (meaning they often overlook the demands). Running practices, preparing for games, helping with fund raising, and communicating with parents are just a few examples that quickly reveal how demanding the job can be — and this is on top of being a parent and having a full-time job!
- Teaching skills – Many parents go into coaching because of need, meaning that the parent may not have experience in the sport that they are asked to coach. What this means is that you may need to do your homework first and learn the skills necessary to help the kids on your team succeed (meaning even more of a time commitment).
- Make the experience fun. Studies consistently show that the #1 reason kids play sports is to have fun. Unfortunately, with all the duties coaches are responsible for it can become very challenging to keep it fun at all times. In fact, some parents who go into coaching quickly find out that not only is the job of being a coach tougher than expected, it can also lead to burnout if a healthy and balanced lifestyle is not kept in place.
While being a coach is not always an easy endeavor, it can be a very fun and meaningful one – for both the coach, as well as all the kids on the team. Like everything else, being prepared and keeping a good, positive attitude can really help ward off the stress that comes with coaching.
For more information on athletic performance enhancement products, including programming for coaches, be sure to check out the Advanced Human Performance Systems website!