Friday, February 17, 2012

Coaching Your Own Kid

If you are planning to coach your own son or daughter's team this season, I highly recommend that you read this article by Janis Meredith:  6 Steps to Successfully Coaching Your Own Child

Meredith offers the following advice for the benefit of all involved - the child, the parent, the team and the league:

1. Get objective opinions about each child's abilities from your fellow coaches.
2. Give fair treatment to all. Don't treat your child better or worse than the other players.
3. Do not coach at home unless your child brings it up.
4. Prepare your kids for peer pressure they may encounter because you are the coach.
5. Remind your child that you are their coach on the field, not just their parent.
6. Be an unconditional coach. "If you are going to volunteer to help coach your child's team, commit yourself to doing what's best for the entire team, not just your child. If you can't do that, don't coach."

So many leagues have been negatively affected by "daddyball." The "what's in it for me and my kid" attitude
can create conflict and drive families away. Some independent travel teams openly recruit players from families that are fed up with it.

Last year I coached my own son for the first time. I joined the staff just after he was born, and he was finally to the age where he could play for us. So I understand it's not the easiest position to be in. We know our own kids so well - athletically, mentally and emotionally. I just try to remember that the team is bigger than him - it was there for nearly 60 years before him, and I hope it's there for another 60 after. And after 10 years I know how I would coach the team if he weren't on the roster. That perspective is helpful.

Myers Park Trinity is unique in that we have Major League managers and coaches that typically stay on the job for decades, regardless of what age our children are. Several of us played in the league and now coach among some of the same men we once played against. Daddyball doesn't stand a chance. But we couldn't have a league without the tremendous work done by the volunteer coaches, most of them parents, throughout the other divisions. That's where we must make the extra effort to give all kids a fair and beneficial experience, and keep MPTLL truly great. Best of luck this season.

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