Friday, January 6, 2017

Coaching vs. Parenting - It's Important to Understand the Difference

An icon illustrating a parent and child
An icon illustrating a parent and child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As the parent of a young athlete, you need to absolutely understand that there is a HUGE difference between being a parent and being a “coach.” Your job, as a parent, is to be someone who encourages and supports your kids, who loves them endlessly, no matter how they perform on the ice. Your job is NOT to coach your kids- to criticize them for their mistakes, to demand better performance, or to get onto them about missed plays or other small mistakes they may make in the sport of their choice.

If you can separate these roles- letting the coach do the coaching and you do the parenting- everyone, especially your kids,will be a lot happier! In fact, you should never be the one to bring up sports or sports performance. If your child brings up the topic, answer his questions or concerns, but don’t take it further. Remember, your child’s home should be a safe haven from the pressures and worries of the outside world.

Of course, things aren’t always so simple. Sometimes, the lines get blurred, such as when parents serve as coaches or assistant coaches. If that describes your situation, the best thing you can do is to take off your “coach” hat the moment you get home and put on your “parent” hat.

The bottom line is that, regardless of your role in your child’s athletic life, sports stuff belongs on the playing field and at practice, and “home stuff” is the ONLY stuff that belongs at home. If you can learn to create barriers between the two worlds, you and your child will be a lot happier and more comfortable, and your child should get a whole lot more enjoyment (not to mention a whole lot less pressure!) from his sports experience.

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