Saturday, 20 Jul 2024

A Coach and a Parent


As a coach and a parent, I have had the opportunity to observe and interact with many players, parents, and coaches over the years. From coaching young athletes to college-level teams, I’ve witnessed the dynamics of team relationships and the impact of parental involvement. In this article, I want to share some of my thoughts and experiences to shed light on the important role that both coaches and parents play in a young athlete’s development.

The Challenges of Information Overload

I recall a particular team that I coached, which was incredibly talented but struggled with confidence and focus halfway through the season. As I observed the team during their next tournament, I noticed a change in their performance. They seemed tense and played with hesitation, constantly looking to their parents for approval or guidance. This reliance on parental input affected their ability to trust their own instincts and play with joy.

Striking a Balance

As a coach, I have learned the importance of timing and effective communication. It is crucial to give players space immediately after a match to process their emotions before addressing any performance-related issues. This allows them to reflect on their own experiences and provide valuable insights during team discussions at the next practice. By fostering an environment where players can share their thoughts and commend their teammates, we can maintain a positive atmosphere that encourages growth.

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Overcoming Pressure and Expectations

One challenge that many young athletes face is the weight of expectations from parents and coaches. It is vital for both coaches and parents to emphasize that making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process. By creating an environment where mistakes are seen as opportunity for growth, players can develop their skills and resilience without fear of disappointing others. We must remind them that mistakes do not define their worth as athletes.

Fostering a Love for the Game

Coaching young athletes brings me great joy because it is often their first exposure to organized and competitive sports. These players come from a background where they are coached by volunteer parents who may only have a basic knowledge of the sport. Our role as coaches and parents is to make the sport fun, fresh, and challenging, ensuring that every player enjoys the experience. By setting realistic goals and focusing on the process rather than just the outcome, we can create a supportive environment where players can thrive.


Q: How do I strike a balance between being a coach and a parent?

A: Striking a balance between being a coach and a parent is essential. It’s important to maintain clear boundaries and separate the roles. As a coach, focus on providing guidance, instruction, and support to all players on the team, including your own child. As a parent, be their cheerleader and offer encouragement without undermining the coaching staff. Remember, your child needs your unwavering support both on and off the court.

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Q: How can I help my child enjoy the sport while managing expectations?

A: It’s crucial to prioritize your child’s enjoyment of the sport over any expectations or aspirations you may have. Encourage them to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from them. Emphasize the importance of effort and growth rather than solely focusing on outcomes. Celebrate their achievements, big or small, and let them know that their worth as individuals is not tied to their performance on the court.


Being both a coach and a parent presents unique challenges and responsibilities. By creating an environment that supports growth, embraces mistakes, and fosters a love for the game, we can help young athletes thrive. As coaches, we must remember to have the heart of a teacher, guiding players to develop their skills and resilience. As parents, we need to provide unwavering support and prioritize our child’s enjoyment and well-being. Together, we can ensure that every young athlete has a positive and fulfilling experience in sports.

So, let’s coach, support, and nurture our young athletes, cherishing their journey in sports. And most importantly, let’s remember to celebrate their successes with a twinkle in our eyes and a song in our hearts.