As a parent, it is only natural to want the best for your child in all aspects of life. Many parents feel this way, especially when the child expresses interest in participating in sports activities.
In team sports, however, you need to be aware that you will also need to interact with the coach. Having a bad relationship with your child’s sports coach can lead to all kinds of drama, problems, and even sports-related injuries that all can easily be avoided.
Here are a few tips you can implement to help maintain positive relationships for your child when it comes to sports.
Put Your Child First
If you want your child to feel positive about sports and have higher self-esteem, it’s important that you play a role in this process. You can do this by not only supporting your own child at sports practices and events, but you can also work to maintain a positive relationship with his or her coach.
You are an important component of the relationship that your child will have with sports. But you should also recognize the role that the coach plays in developing positive attributes like self-esteem, confidence, and athletic skills.
The more you can remain calm and encourage your child, the better the whole experience will be. However, you also need to know when it’s time to speak to the coach or remove your child from the team.
Don’t Determine Success Only in Terms of Winning and Losing
It’s important for your child to remember that winning and losing can be valuable life lessons, but they should not be the whole focus of the sports experience. Even when your child has suffered a difficult loss, remember to highlight the improvement in skills, the friendships they have gained through the experience, and the opportunities to do better in the future.
If working with a coach who has decided to focus primarily on winning or losing, do your best to reframe this for your child at home. Then consider setting up an individual appointment with the coach to talk about how these messages are translated to the children on the team.
It might simply take one meeting with the coach to help them understand how the specific wording used around children influences the way they perceive their own role on a bigger sports team.
Be Supportive but Refrain From Coaching
Even though you might know a fair amount about the sport and your own child’s athletic ability, make sure to maintain that fine line between being a supportive parent and a coach. The coach of the team can take this as boundary crossing and it can lead to future problems when you interact with that coach. Even if you think you know best, try to give up some of that power by allowing the coach of the team to provide insight to the players. You play an important role as a supporter, but it’s not really your place to determine these strategies of the team or to comment on what the coach decided to do or not do.
Dealing With a Difficult Coach
There are situations when a relationship with a coach needs to be severed or reconsidered. If you notice that your child is having emotional difficulty adjusting to the way that a coach speaks about the game, or about your child’s individual performance, your first step should be to consult with the coach directly in an individual meeting.
If the coach is unwilling to bend on his or her approach towards athletics and coaching in general, this is an opportunity that you and your child may want to join a different team or league. Unfortunately, even in the best-case scenarios, continued interaction with the coach under these circumstances can only make things more difficult for your child. It could even lead your child deciding not to participate in the sport anymore.
These few tips can help to make your child’s experience in team sports a very positive one. Remember, you are your child’s biggest fan and best supporter!