Dads and moms who choose to coach their own child can find greater challenges than teaching kids how to dribble a ball, swing a bat or slap a hockey puck.
Former Major League baseball player turned coach and instructor, Chad Moeller, passes on some tips for parents who put on the coach’s cap. He has been on all sides of this issue, as a little leaguer, a professional player, father and coach to hundreds of kids.
As you are making the initial decision to take the field with your son or daughter’s team, Moeller says check yourself. Make sure your motives revolve around your child and not you.
"This isn't about the dreams that didn't work out for you. I understand you hurt your elbow in high school and you had higher aspirations; but don't make it about you. Make it about your son. Make it about your daughter. Make sure this is what they want to do," warns Moeller, who works with young baseball players every day.
Also the former Diamondbacks catcher recommends parents clearly define the coaching and parenting roles. Allow your child to play a part in that. When you are on the field, you are coach. Let your child know there will be no, "…awwww, but dad…"
When you are away from the sport court, give your child the choice. Moeller states, "That is the best thing I found with my son. Ninety-five-percent of the time he wants me to be coach, which means he wants to get better at it."
So Moeller says he will treat his son like he’s a player on a team. "That means he has to show me respect as his coach, and he's not going to roll his eyes at me like he might want to otherwise. He has the choice at that point, but he's choosing that and he knows when we go down this road it's going to be this, and when we go down this road it's going to be this."
Moeller admits he has been harder on his own child than the other players on the team at times. He says many parent coaches do it, but need to catch themselves and resist the urge.
"Ask yourself, is it a reflection of me that I'm worried about? Am worried about what other people are going to think if my son doesn't do well? That’s when it ends up being about us as opposed to the kids. You want them to enjoy this experience. It's a bonding moment. Don't ruin it for them."