Let Them Sit the Bench

Being a volunteer coach is no easy task. It's not a position where you get paid. Volunteers typically sign up because they love the game and want to inspire a new generation.

A volunteer coach's role extends beyond the skills and drills. During their time with your children, your kids become part of their extended family. Tears are shed; comfort is given. Frustrations arise, victories are gained and losses are handled.

Good coaches do everything they can to draw out your child's potential. To get them to understand the game, to progress at their own pace, to understand what it means to be on a team, to have fun, and to succeed.

Yes, there are some coaches who try and create "stacked" teams and have lost complete sight of what youth sports represent, instead winning at all costs has become the motto.

But most coaches, they want each and every player to find their own level of success.

A variety of methods are used to inspire. Often lessons are taught that extend beyond the court or field. The sports arena provides a stage where valuable lessons are learned. It isn't just about creating superstars.

I wish some parents understood this.

When you are "coaching" from the sideline and telling your child not to listen to the coach, instead to follow your lead as you embarrassingly blare from the sidelines, it causes confusion. It puts your child in a difficult position where they have to choose between the parent they love and want to please or to their coach who is trying to create a team with 11 other children, not just your own.

In order to do that, unity is required.

When your child rolls their eyes, doesn't pass the ball, and stops listening to the coach they go from playing time to sitting the bench. When your child starts putting down members on their team, chances are they won't be invited back next season.

Put your stopwatch away, tracking every minute, making sure that your child is getting equal playing time.

Because in life, as your child becomes an adult... the standards you are setting, they do not apply.

When a boss asks them to perform a task; they have to if they want to keep their job. Your child isn't always going to get equal playing time as they get older, because their skill set isn't the strongest. They will interview and be turned down for jobs. They will suffer heartbreak during breakups.

And hopefully they will know how to handle these moments because they did play sports.

The external rewards shouldn't be the driving force. Let your child fail. Let them sit the bench. Let them learn how to handle disappointment. Let them learn there are consequences for their actions, both good and bad.

You aren't going to be around forever. Teach them that the external rewards aren't the only motivator. True confidence can't be manufactured. For it to have an impact--it always has to come from within.