The Challenges with Being Your Kid’s Coach and Parent


Setting Team Goals as a Parent-Coach

A sports parent asks:

“As a parent and a coach, how should I handle performing both duties simultaneously to help all the kids as much as possible?”

Being a coach and parent can breed many issues that you need to be aware of from day one…

The first issue you need to tackle is the expectation that you’ll favor your child.

If the other players or coaches expect or suspect favoritism, your players’ self-confidence will drop—and so will their parents’ trust in you.

The players will likely assume you’ll favor your own kids, unless you prove otherwise. Again, that can lead to a loss in confidence and with this, kids’ performance will deteriorate.

They may start second-guessing themselves and soon could start struggling with a number of mental game issues, among them comparing themselves to others and worrying about what others think of them.

You can take steps to stop these issues before they ever begin…

First, get everyone involved by having a team meeting with the purpose of establishing an inclusive team culture. Make sure all the parents are involved.

Set goals for the kids, and for the team. You want to build everyone’s confidence, not just your kids’, but the other players’ and their parents’ confidence, as well. Make sure your goals focus on ways the team can grow together and build confidence together.

During practices and games, remind kids not to compare themselves to others.

It’s possible kids will compare themselves to your kids in an effort to gain your favor. Tell them to focus on their own strengths, and not on the strengths of others.

You might even ask them to list their strengths and best moments in sports. In addition, tell them to focus on playing for themselves—not to please other people, including their coaches.

To be a good sports parent, let your children know that you can’t give them special attention during team practice, but will instead work with them to meet their goals, just like you’ll work with the other players.

Share your team goals with your children to make them feel included. Keeping a solid balance can be difficult, but it’s achievable.

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Every day, we receive letters from parents like you who want their children and teens to excel in sports. However, these parents can see fear, doubt, and frustration on the faces of their kids who struggle with the “inner” game of sports. But these parents have no idea how to help their kids overcome the worries, expectations and self-defeating thoughts that prevent their young athletes from feeling confident and successful.

You can benefit from our 15-plus years’ of work in sports psychology and sports parenting research. Now, you can tap into our secrets to sports success through a cutting-edge, 14-day program that helps young athletes overcome the top “mental game” challenges that sports parents face—and the top challenges young athletes face.

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