Coaching Your Own Child

There are many reasons people get involved coaching children: A love for the game; a long playing background; a desire to give something back; or sometimes it's simply that there are no other volunteers. Another reason is the desire to coach your own children. There are some coaches who want to coach their kids so they can develop them into the next Derek Jeter or Roger Clemens. If that's you, then I'm sorry, but you are doing it for the wrong reason and more than likely it will damage your relationship with your child. Most of us want to spend quality time with our kids doing something that we enjoy and helping a community need. As most parents, we want our children to be successful on the field and in the interaction with their teammates. Our goals for our children aren't any different from the other parents of kids on the team, but there is a difference in the role we play. As a coach we have taken on a different role with our child and that role of coaching children doesn't always fit squarely with our other role of supportive parent.

To Coach or Not to Coach?

I've coached my kids for a number of years, but there was one year where I chose not to coach and another year I shouldn't have coached. Kids go through all kinds of stages as they are growing up and it's important for you to evaluate whether you should be coaching your child at this particular time or not. I've seen a few coaches who coach their kid every year and every year it seems like their kid absolutely hates it. These are not bad coaches, but for some reason it just doesn't work coaching their own child and I wonder what kind of lasting effect it will have. Most likely the kids will remember that their Dad was out there helping out and it will be a positive memory over time, but I still wonder.

I think it's important for you to ask yourself a number of questions before agreeing to coach your own child.

  • Does your child currently behave well for you?
  • Does your child currently listen to you when give him/her instructions at home?
  • Does your child really enjoy playing baseball?
  • Do you think your child will be able to separate Dad from coach?

This is just a sample of things to ask yourself in order to give yourself an idea of coaching your own child is a good idea or not. If you answer "no" to two or more of the questions then I think you could be in for a bit of a challenge. More than that and you could have your hands full.

Strategies for Coaching Your Own Child

Most of you aren't on this page because you still need to make a decision, you're here becuase you are coaching your child. I've coached my kids for years with various levels of success. Most years went well, but there were some challenges along the way. Here are some tips on how to make things with your child go smoothly, some are harder than others.

  • Only coach your child when you are coaching the team. Can be tough to not give your own child extra help and I'm not saying don't do it, but make sure it is what your child wants, not what you want.
  • Never coach on the way home from practice or after a game. Many kids dread the ride home after games, when their Dad isn't the coach, so make sure you make the transition from coach to "supportive Dad" in the car. If your son had a tough game, don't go over the mistakes and how to improve next time, take the opportunity to be there as a supporting parent, letting them know that you really enjoy watching them play ball rather than picking apart their game.

Scroll down for a blog article I wrote years ago about coaching my own son.

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I just wanted to tell you that the article about coaching your kid was great! It is the same approach I have taken with my son who is 10 and I have coached in most everything. I was looking up information because last night we had a setback! He was very whiney on the field and I know he wouldn't have been that way if his Dad wasn't in the Dugout!

Anyway, I was reminded of our discussions about coach/player and dad/son and we're due to talk again!

- Jay F.