My husband coached all our kids for soccer in various capacities including head coach of kindergarten soccer, and assistant coach for our oldest’s U13 team where he ran a weekly practice session. It was harder for him to coach girls as they became tweens. He felt that the girls tended to waste time talking amongst themselves, and didn’t seem to take seriously enough. That put pressure on our daughter to be the “good example” which she did not enjoy. On the other hand, my husband felt he was volunteering specifically for her because the team had a coaching crisis. While they worked through their challenges as the season unfolded, it would have been helpful for them to address these issues before they stepped on the pitch.
Coaching Your Own Daughter
Coaching your own daughter can be tricky. The best way to handle conflicts that arise when your mom or dad is also your coach I’ve found is to talk about it before the season begins.
Step 1: Accepting Your Parent in the Coaching Role
The immediate reaction of my daughter when she learns that I am volunteering to assistant coach her team is generally not one of enthusiasm. One way to position my role is to let her know that parents are helping out the team in different ways because of their skill sets and that this is my way of contributing. Parents who are good at computer skills are helping out behind the scenes by organizing carpools and snacks, ordering uniforms and sweatshirts, or doing team communications. My daughter probably didn’t realize that other parents help out the team because their roles are not as visible. Once my daughter realized that other parents are also volunteering, and that helping out practices is my strength, she willing to accept me in this role.
Step 2: Coach versus Parent
Before I can accept the role of assistant coach, I need to have a conversation with my daughter about changing our relationship for that hour and a half when I am coaching. We both have to be comfortable in changing our relationship during that time period because it’s only fair to the environment. That hour and a half is going to feel different even though I love you more than everybody else, as the coach, my goal is to treat everyone equally. I ask of her to be respectful of me like she would a teacher, and we have to decide on how we will handle conflict resolution for the instances that she does not like what I am doing.
Things we should discuss:
- How are we going to communicate when you don’t like something that I’m doing? Agree on a process for getting her feedback during practices. Instead of telling you during practice, “Nobody want to dribble the ball through cones right now,” have a designated time when you have private time with her to share her assessment of the practice.
- I’m going to treat all the players equally in terms of playing time and recognition which doesn’t mean that I don’t love you any less when I am the coach.
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