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COACHING LIFE

Sharing a team experience with a son or their own child is not receiving playing will outweigh the negatives for you and
daughter can be a wonderful, positive time. Players on the bench may also your child? To start, take some time to
opportunity, but it can also be a disaster. begin to question why the coach's son think about whyyou want to coach a team
Before you embark on the endeavor, or daughter is playing, and most impor- with your child on it.
there are some areas to think through tantly, question the coach's fairness. If the reason is to make sure your
and decisions to be made. Several years ago in Indiana, a basket- son or daughter reaches their potential
ball coach's son was sitting on the bench and goes on to the next level, you may
Pros & Cons after having just broken a county scor- be heading down the wrong road. If it's
Veteran high school and collegiate ing record, when a player on the court because you want to mend a difficult rela-
coach Jerry Reeder is a proponent passed the ball to the seated teammate. tionship you have with your child, that's
of coaching one's own child. He has The gesture wasmeant to show the team's another misguided reason. However, if
coached his two sons, and encourages frustration with the coach, whom many you have been coaching the team for a
other coaches to do the same. felt was making his son the sole focus of while, your relationship with your child is
"It is an opportunity to share in their the team's offense. The student section on solid ground, and you like the idea of
successes and failures, and it strengthens erupted in laughter and it turned out sharing the team experience with him or
your bond with your child," Reeder says. that parents were also involved in initiat- her,' you are off to a good start.
''You can laugh and cry with them and ing the prank. Although those involved The next step is to think about how the
that is what makes a relationship stron- were disciplined by the school and the situation will affect your son or daughter.
ger. It is a fantastic opportunity most athlete went on to play NCAADivision I Talk openly to your child about the reali-
parents don't get to have." ball, I'm sure the embarrassment of the ties of coaching them, as well as the pay-
player and coach have stayed offs and pitfalls. And then, listen. Some
with them and soured the team children handle being coached by a par-
"You are not going home with experience. ent better than others. Ii: is your job to
The second concern comes find out if your child is willing and able.
the other athletes on the team from a reaction to perceived Sometimes, a parent is eagerly antici-
and living with them 2417. The favoritism: being too hard on pating coaching their child on a varsity
situation can put pressure on your child. Parent-coaches can team, not realizing that the child is actu-
be tougher on their kid because ally dreading it. Teenage years are ones
the child and strain the parent- they expect more, putting more of learning to be independent of your
child relationship." pressure on the child. The frus- parents, and having a parent involved
tration of the child is, "Why do in your extracurricular activitycan cause
you expect more of me than resentment. On top of that, the child
There are other benefits, too. A child anyone else?" may worry that he or she will be treated
can learn to understand and respect Coach Bill Stone at Fruitport (Mich.) differently by friends on the team if mom
the profession of the parent. And the High School, who coached his daughter or dad is coach.
parent can have new insight into his last season, struggled with this dilemma. In addition, discuss the situation with
or her child's interactions with team- Because of his desire to seem fair, he felt your spouse. Talk honestly about whether
mates, authority figures, and opponents. he was sometimes too tough. your child will be able to deal with the
Parent-coaches can observe, in the Coach Reeder also found himself prospect of you being tough on them in
trenches, their child's reactions to los- being hard on his sons. His boys would practice. Consider these questions:
ing, winning, and many other situations be the first to sit if the game was out of • Knowing my child, how willhe or she
that reveal their character. It can also hand. He cautions that this can be det- respond to me as a coach?
help parents form a less biased view of . rimental to family life, creating tension • Will my child be able to separate my
their child's abilities. between parent and child, and even parent and coach roles?
On the flip side, coaching your son between spouses. • How wellwillI be able to separate my
or daughter can put you, your child, and This leads to the third concern, which roles as coach and parent?
the team in a precarious position. The is the inability of the adolescent to sepa- • Will it create strain within our family?
most obvious concern is the almost auto- rate the parent's coaching role from the In Coach Reeder's case, he knew his
matic reaction from others that your parenting role. At practice you may give boys were willing to accept the higher
child will receive favoritism-a starting your child negative feedback, thinking expectations and the bench time. Coach
position and playing time without hav- what's on the court stays on the court. In Stone had witnessed a situation where a
ing to compete for them. reality, it does not. coach's child wasunwilling to separate the
Reeder felt this washis greatest threat. ''You are not going home with the coach and parent roles and it turned into
''You have to do your best to negate any other athletes on the team and living a nightmare-so he took a lot of time to
perceived favoritism," he says. "If you with them 24/7," Reeder warns. ''The sit- think about how his daughter would react
don't, it can divide a program." uation can put pressure on the child and to certain decisions and conflicts.
Rumors and second-guessing a coach strain the parent-child relationship." Finally, assess how the parent-coach
come quickly when the coach's child role will work for you. Think about what
is in the starting lineup. It is often Is It Right For You? type of coach you are and whether that
fueled by parents who are frustrated So how do you know if the positives will create strain between you and your

36 CoachingManagementOnline.com

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