As we researched our book Beyond Winning: Smart Parenting in a Toxic Sports Environment we talked to thousands of parents about their youth sports issues.
Great questions always surface. Here’s one:
What if My Child Doesn’t Want Me to Coach?
My son and daughter don’t want me to coach them. How can I be their first coach?
First off, you are not alone. Many kids don’t want to be coached by their parents, especially as they get older and become more socially integrated with their peers. Don’t take it personally. They just want to explore and experience things as individuals.
There are, however, ways to participate in your child’s athletic journey—just not in the traditional command-based coaching sense. In fact, more and more, coaches are realizing that command-based coaching is not a very effective way to engage kids. It’s best to set up games and activities that develop skill, challenge your child, and involve you as well. Benjamin Franklin’s words speak volumes: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” So take a cue from some of today’s most dynamic youth coaches, who emphasize experiential learning.
Solution: You can guide your child by providing him with opportunities to learn and develop skills without assuming the role of instructor. The trick is to come up with unique, entertain- ing games that engage him. Skill development should be fun. If your son is having fun, being challenged, and experiencing incremental successes, he will want to play actively more often.
Set up an activity in your yard or at the park. Your children will be drawn to it out of curiosity. It should involve plenty of movement (kids love to run, jump, throw, catch, and crawl) and can be geared toward a sport or activity they’ve already expressed interest in.
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