Should You Coach Your Own Kid?

The question as to whether parents should coach their own kids in sports has been a topic of concern since the first day that organized sports came into being.

The answer?

It depends on who the parent is and how they stack up as a parent -- or even as an individual for that matter.

As a former director of a youth sports organization with more than 15,000 kids playing all sports, I can tell you I've seen some great parent-coaches, and also, some bad parent-coaches.

The following are some of the characteristics of both types:

The bad parent-coach
  • This is the person who agrees to coach because he (or she) believes that their child is destined to be the next greatest sports star
  • This is the parent who agrees to coach so that they can make sure their child doesn't sit on the bench
  • This is that coach that never made it as a young athlete and plans to do everything to make sure that doesn't happen to his or her kid
  • This is the coach that thinks that if he shows favoritism to his own kid then the other parents and players won't like him. So in turn he or she constantly berates their child for the simplest of mistakes. In the end their kid suffers and in many cases ends up hating sports.
The good parent-coach
  • This is the parent who really cares about kids and is just there because he sees the value in sports in developing young people.

You may be saying to yourself, "Is that all there is about being a good parent-coach"? The answer is yes! Our organization, the National Alliance for Youth Sports, offers great resources to help parents along the way -- but if parents are involved in their child's sports for the right reasons, and if their actions are consistent with their motives, their child is well on their way to a fun and positive youth sports experience.