Who is Coaching Your Kid? Why You Should Be Paying Attention

boxing girl

Perhaps you can remember a great coach or teacher you had growing up. He or she probably encouraged you, yet had a steady hand. He was the kind of person who saw your potential, and carefully guided you into making the choice to pursue your own greatness. Think of the impact, he had on you.

Now, as an adult you can only hope your child will get to experience the kind of coaching, because a great coach or teacher will have an incredible impact on your child’s life. Here's why it's important to know who is coaching your child.

  • Your child will look to them for direction, and will take their advice.

There will be many times throughout practices or games when your child will have to make the choice to do right or wrong (say fouling when the ref isn’t looking, etc…). You’ve taught him what’s right, but a bad coach could easily create a “wrong choice” culture within the team, where a great coach will always show your child, “life is about making the right choices, even if that means we lose because of it.”

This sort of reinforcement of your parenting will only help your child become a kind and considerate adult.

  • A great coach will love your child.

Yes, I mean it - they will LOVE your kid. Each of the girls on my team is absolutely unique, and I love them all unconditionally. This means, even if we lose, make a mistake, or a wrong choice, I will still be their biggest cheerleader. It also means that I will check in on their grades, notice when they aren’t being themselves, and take the time to make sure everything is “okay”.

You’d be surprised how comfortable your child is confiding in a coach. By law, coaches are required to report any ‘red flags’, and are trained to help your child make the right choice. We call these ‘coachable moments’, a great coach will foster an environment built on trust and love, so don’t be surprised if you hear them say, “I love you!” because, they really do.

  • Great coaches won’t cut your kid based on ability.

And even if your kid isn’t all that great, he will play, and not just at the end of the game when the team is sure to win. What? Yeah, you read that right. I adapted this technique after reading the book, A Season Of Life by Jeffrey Marx (which I encourage every human on earth to read).

You see, high school sports are not all about winning. Winning is a result of great coaching, and great coaching means you see the ability in every kid who has the drive and dedication to be a part of your team. In A Season Of Life, Ehrman coaches using a technique that utilizes the ‘talents’ method: each kid has x number of talents, and so long as they bring 100% of their talents to every practice, and every game, they are a valued member of the team.

A great coach will show your kid that even if they only have 1 talent, it will be put to good use, and valued.  

  • Lastly great coaches will teach your kid to value lasting relationships over winning.

Again, I started using this technique after reading “A Season Of Life”. I always tell my kids, “At the end of the day, what’s on your gravestone? Best football player of all time? Record breaking basketball scores? No, “good father”, “sister”, “friend”. Even on Tom Brady’s gravestone, I bet he will reference his relationships.” A great coach will teach your child that shaking the other team’s hand isn’t just for “good sportsmanship”, it’s to build a relationship with the other team. A coach who can teach your child to focus on building positive relationships, will help your child grown into an empathetic and kind adult.

At the end of the day, isn’t that what you want for your child? Sure it might be really awesome to see his or her face in the local newspaper with an all-star headline, but raising an emotionally strong  and empathetic young adult is worth so much more, isn’t it?

Coaches play a very unique role in your child’s life, and are truly one of the most influential people in your child’s life.

That being said, there are some bad seeds out there, so watch out for red flags like: the emphasis of “winning at all costs”, encouragement of “bad choices” (excessive fouling, name calling, putting other teammates down), and anything else you feel encourages your child to focus on his or her ego over the greater good.

Maybe you’re not comfortable stepping in, and you might be tempted to look the other way, thinking it will teach your child to be resourceful, but at the end of the day, coaches (good or bad) undoubtedly WILL make a large impact on your kid’s life, and if you’ve got a good one, let them do their thing, they won’t let you down!