Coaching your athlete from the sidelines

yelling dadIf you do, then the game has become about you and not your child. You don’t like that? Consider the following.

Its one thing to encourage your athlete, but, coaching them from the sideline, makes it very difficult for your child or teen to fully engage in the game. For starters, it takes lots of courage and guts to compete out there on the court or field. They are faced with decisions and often quick ones because of the nature of the game. Then there are plays they are running and teammates that they are trying to feed off and engage. Your athlete can’t really do those things while listening to you, the coach and teammates.

Let the game come to your athlete allowing them to focus on the right things and even make mistakes. If your child is rubber necking toward you every minute, try zipping your mouth next game and keep your focus on encouragement, a smile, or a thumbs up. Your actions will encourage them to focus on what the coach is saying and feed off the action of the sport.

The game is supposed to be fun. Remember that. If you want to coach, don’t do it during the games. The game is the time to showcase their skills that they have been working on. Games are the time to smile and encourage. Relax a bit. I bet if you do, your athlete will perform even better.

I coach a lot of basketball players one-on-one in a skill development scenario. They open up to me often on this topic. Here are some of the statements they have heard from their parents and they don’t like it!

  • I don’t care what the play is, shoot it! (during a game)
  • If I wanted to see the special Olympics I would have bought a ticket (after the game)
  • You don’t want to play! then get in the car! (end of game)
  • Do you know how much money I have spent on you, run!! (during the game)
  • Seriously! (during game)
  • Your mom can come next time! (after game)
  • You got 3 minutes to get your butt in the car (after a loss)
  • Dad, calm down! (girl during game to father)
  • Knock him down! (during game)
  • Are you going to take that! (during game)


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