Top Tips – How to coach the team your child plays for

Coaching your child’s football team can sometimes be challenging, so here’s some advice to help you make the transition from parent to coach.

Have you been asked to take over a team to keep it going and you agreed because you wanted your child to still have somewhere to play? Maybe you even started a team to get them involved in the first place? Whatever your level of experience as a coach, parent or volunteer, you now find yourself in charge of a team with your child playing in it. But don’t worry, there are lots of transferable skills from parenting to coaching, the challenge is to treat your child the same as all the other players.

Coaching very young children focuses a lot on the psychological and social corners of development. These players are learning about themselves and their role in the world, discovering things they’re good at – or sometimes not so good at. They’re finding out that other children have different capabilities, opinions and thoughts, that they have to deal with and try to understand. On top of this, they’re learning the game of football.

As a parent, you’re probably already used to guiding your child along their development path in your home environment, so it’s a case of transferring your parenting skills to the pitch – while remembering that your relation to your child while on the pitch, is first and foremost as a coach.

Here’s some general advice:

  • Pay attention to how you talk to your child (and about your child) in front of others.
  • Treat your child as an individual and be consistent with the treatment of all players. Don’t favour your child, but there’s also no need to be ‘harder’ on them – be fair and impartial.
  • Recognise as both a parent and a coach that emotional intelligence is a valuable life skill.
  • Talk to your child and the other players about feelings. Football is an emotional game.
  • Don’t define your child just by their ability on the pitch and let them know that everything is possible.

You might have parented your child using many of these things to guide you – now use this to help develop well-rounded, intelligent and respectful young players.

As parents, we must stop worrying about how fast we can make intelligence grow and instead concentrate on how far. The same applies to coaches working with young players: celebrate where each child is at, understand them better and then work as effectively as you can to develop them further.

The aim for each young player (including your child) is to emerge from childhood excited and confident about learning. Let’s also help them to develop a life-long love of sport and physical activity.

Article courtesy of  The FA Bootroom

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