Soccer Way to Coach Your Own Child

Every parent at some point will end up questioning the nature of their involvement in a child's co-curricular or extracurricular activities. We want to be helpful and influential; and while we understand that there are boundaries, those lines aren't always bright and clear.
For those parents whose children are involved in sports, a time may come when you will ask yourself: "should I coach my own son/daughter?"

This is not a question to be taken lightly. As a parent, there are many things to consider beyond your knowledge of the sport - many more questions to ask yourself and your child before making the decision to coach, or not to coach.

The very first question asked should always be: "Does my child want me to coach?" If the answer to that question is an unequivocal "no", then you probably shouldn't consider it further. You can always just continue to do your own parental coaching at home between practice and games, if that's what you were already doing.

Younger children are generally OK with Mom or Dad playing the role of team coach/captain, but older kids tend to have more problems with it. At a certain age, usually around 13 or 14 years old, parents become embarrassing to their teens, and they want to do as little as possible in public with their parents. You should respect this, as this is part of the maturing process.
If you are being asked to coach out of necessity, you could offer to coach another team. This will satisfy both the league's need for coaches, and your child's need for someone different than a parent as his team coach.

Secondly, ask yourself, Are you qualified? At ages 6-10, a basic knowledge of skills and strategy are sufficient to coach most sports. Older children will need a coach who is more well-versed in the skill sets and strategies of the sport.
In addition to your knowledge of the game, there are other qualities that a good coach will possess:
* Patience with your own child as well as others
* Good communication - it's not enough to be a good player yourself; you have to be able to impart such skills and wisdom to those you're coaching.
It's important to draw a definite line between your roles and keep them separate! Dad is not Coach, and Coach is not Dad. When you're on the field, you are not Dad. And when you're home, you are not Coach.

Of course you're going to talk about the game at home after practice, but be cautious about what gets discussed. Talking strategy is one thing; but hassling each other over differences in opinion is obviously a terrible idea.

It's critical that you treat your child exactly the same as you treat every other player on the team. Do not be more lenient, but also do not be rougher. Do not single your child out for any additional instruction, either because he is better or because he is worse than the other players. You must provide a positive and productive teaching experience for all players.
And lastly, do not coach your own child for more than a few years. Kids need to learn other leadership styles and experience having someone else as their boss. There is a time when you need to recognize that someone else should coach your child.

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