Coach my own kid? How to succeed as a soccer parent!

No, you should not – that is the short answer. The longer answer is that it depends. Before we start getting into that, don’t expect rewards if you are the soccer coach, in the common way of thinking. One of the most fulfilling experiences a parent can have is to coach their own child in soccer. However, this also entails a lot of responsibilities and challenges. As a parent, you should weigh the pros and cons of taking on such a role. Here are some things to consider before making the decision to coach your own kid in soccer. We’ll look into it to see the pros and cons you might have as a coach, but also the kid and the team. These are all separate aspects and they require a full examination.

Pros of coaching your own kid

One of the biggest advantages of coaching your own child is the opportunity to spend quality time with them while teaching them something they love. Say that you like the sport and you are driving your kid to practice and back. Well, you might as well spend that extra hour or two on the field, being useful to society instead of just scrolling through this site. You can also film the soccer games and contribute to building an archive for all players on the team. This assumes you are actually a coach and you have a genuine desire for soccer. You can do the same by gifting them great books and reading with them, but this is extra.

Secondly, coaching allows you to keep an eye on your child’s progress and development, which can increase your bond with them. Moreover, coaching your child in soccer can boost their confidence and self-esteem, as well as help them develop important social skills. If you know your kid is shy, it might be great for them to feel more comfortable when you are the coach.

Finally, you know what works for your kid to learn better. Presumably, you already have a passion for coaching soccer and impacting lives. Furthermore, you get to know the friends from soccer, so you know what works for them to learn faster. It is likely that this works better when the soccer players are very young, playing on small soccer fields, and not in their teenage years. That doesn’t mean that at some point you end up being completely hands-off as they get older. However, you might want to let professionals do the work.

Negative sides of your kid being on the team you coach

Well, you need to discipline them sometimes and everybody knows they are yours. That’s definitely not an easy dilemma to have. It can be messy and handling it in public is difficult. Furthermore, you might need to discipline their teammates. On top of the regular challenges, you need to think about the interaction between your kid and that other kid. You don’t want your kid to feel excluded because you had to handle their misbehaving friend.  

Playing time is always a big issue in youth sports and the coach always needs to balance it. Now, if you give too much time to your kid, it can backfire for the team regardless of how good they are. If you give too little time to your kid, then your kid will be mad at you. I have seen kids being angry with their parent coaches for years. So, tread carefully there, or completely step out of it.

At some point, the player has to understand that having their parent as the coach is not “the real world”. Yes, it can happen, but it is not the default state where the parent will be their teacher, boss, or coach. Our recommendation is to make sure the player feels comfortable on the team, but at some point step away and let them experience what it is like when the coach is not their parent. You don’t want that to happen in college for the first time. There will be other first-time challenges to handle then.

Like a doctor – you nurse them at home when they have small soccer injuries, but you bring them to the doctor for serious ones. Or the education system as a whole – you help them with their homework but still send them to school. Why would it be different when it comes to quality soccer development?

How to make the most when you coach your own kid

If you decide to coach your own kid, there are ways to ensure that it is a positive and enjoyable experience for both of you. Start by setting clear boundaries and expectations for both you and your child. Establish rules and let your child know that they will be treated like any other player on the team. This is something that should be clear to the other players and the parents, too. Additionally, communicate with your child about their goals and aspirations, and work together to achieve them.

It is also important to maintain a positive attitude and focus on the process of learning and development, rather than just winning games. Encourage your child to have fun and enjoy the game, and don’t put too much pressure on them to perform well. That is the key to being a great soccer parent in general. Finally, be open and receptive to feedback from your child and other parents, and use it to improve your coaching skills and approach.

However, if your kid shows ambition to be more involved, put in extra effort, and requires more professional commitment, it is up to you to step away or move your child to a more professional environment. To make an analogy that you would understand. If a kid is sick, a parent should nurse them because they can provide extra personal and personalized care. But if there is a suggestion that it requires professional aid, then they should take them to the doctor. There is no reason for this to be different in soccer.

The joys of coaching your own little soccer star

Coaching your own child in soccer can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Seeing your child grow and develop their skills, and watching them enjoy the game, can be incredibly fulfilling. Coaching also allows you to be a positive role model for your child, and to build a strong relationship with them that will last a lifetime.

As we discussed before, ideally it would be done in the youngest groups and at the lower level. To be more explicit, if the age of the players is in single digits and the level is recreational. The moment the players transition to the premier level, it is less ideal for the parent to be a coach for more than one year. Remember, it is all about the development of the player.

Coaching your own child in soccer is a decision that requires careful consideration. While it can be challenging at times, it can also be an incredibly rewarding experience for both you and your child. By setting clear boundaries, maintaining a positive attitude, and focusing on the process of learning and development, you can make coaching your own little soccer star a joyful and fulfilling experience.