Originally published 5/10/17
Coach your kids…while you still can. Just don’t take any pointers from those crazy but classic coaches in the movie Bad News Bears 🙂 From soccer to T-ball to Little League to hoops to football, we love coaching our kids. From ages 6-12, these are the years where you can really add some impact to not only their sports experiences but also to your father-child bond. Before age 6, they are still young and simply don’t ‘get it’ which can only spell Hip Daddy frustration, so stay away. As they get into their teenage years, it’s best to leave the coaching to the more experienced, and frankly, it is time for somebody else to help your child develop. And sadly, your child is probably ready for somebody other than “Dad” to be in their ear at all times 🙂 But ages 6-12, own it! Being a good coach is not easy, but we here at Hip Daddy HQ feel as if we are well equipped and qualified to throw down some logic on all things youth sports coaching.
Be Detailed Oriented and Over-Communicate. Part of coaching a team is dealing with practice/game schedules as well as communicating with all the parents of your players- some can be hands off, some can be overly involved. The more detailed you are, the easier the season will go. Establishing some form of communication vehicle for your team, whether it be a team email or text chat group or a messaging group chat, is a Hip Daddy Must-Have! Keeping everyone informed is a good thing.
Coach, Don’t Babysit. You are there to coach a sport, you are not their to run a day-care or nanny service. Although some parents absolutely sign-up their kids for a youth sport for someone to watch their child for a couple hours or to simply buy time, you are there to coach the sport and teach the kids how to play the game. Although this is more typical of the younger kids, whatever level you are at, just coach, that’s why you are devoting your time to the kids.
Have Fun. Remember, the kids are still young and their interests and abilities are in development. You want to create a fun, enjoyable and memorable experience for your team so they keep coming back…season after season. You can still be strict with them, but always remember to take a deep breathe from time to time, and understand who your audience actually is 🙂 Get team cheers going, inspire them to root each other on, throw post game pizza parties, do things that are fun and emphasize what it means to be a part of a team. This will go a long way in life, well beyond sports.
Absolutely Favor Your Child. Assuming you are doing this not only because you love youth sports but also because you have a child you want to coach, it’s okay to give a bit more attention to your child. The way we look at it, if we are taking the time out of our busy schedules to commit to coaching, this does indeed give us the right to do so…so do it #LOL. Start them every game, have them bat lead off, play the entire game, you name it, let if fly! Okay, in all seriousness, do what is fair but yes, it’s okay to spend more time focusing on your child…you are there because of them. And from a more personal pov, the bond that can develop between you and your child is kinda awesome.
Keep Score. Yes, we know some parents out there are opposed to having winners and losers in youth sports, but we actually do care about winning and losing. Again, there are different levels here given ages, but for the most part, teaching your team about winning and losing is a good thing. It’s okay to win and it’s okay to lose. This valuable piece of knowledge will help them develop well beyond youth sports, and will prepare them for the life challenges ahead. So keep score. I’ve seen as much joy from an undefeated team clinching the championship to the team who hasn’t won all year but finally wins their last game of the season! And at the end of the day, the kids are keeping score regardless so you should too 🙂
Coaching youth sports is an amazing experience and one that you will never forget. And given how quickly they grow up, embrace it now while you still can.