How to Coach Your Own Child

Coaching Your Child Fairly

On the field, you're the coach, not the parent.
On the field, you're the coach, not the parent.

Before you decide to begin coaching your own kid, you should make sure you're doing it for the right reasons:

  • facilitating the running of the team
  • spending quality time with your child
  • helping your child and others learn how to play the sport, work together in a team environment and have fun in a supportive atmosphere

Should you attempt to coach your child all the way to a pro-sports career, you run a serious risk of showing favoritism to your kid when it comes to assigning positions, picking the starting lineup and deciding who goes in the game at crucial moments. Other parents will be sensitive to any perceived favoritism on your part. It's a fine line, because you don't want to overcompensate for perceived favoritism by being extra-hard on your own kid, either.

How do you balance being a parent and being a coach? Make sure both you and your child share this understanding: At home and off the field, you're a parent, not a coach. On the field, you're the coach, not the parent.

If you continue coaching your child's teams for a few seasons, consider taking a season or two off. This will allow your child to learn how to play under different coaching styles and remove the stigma of being the "coach's kid." When other kids are griping about something you're doing as coach (and they will), they'll clam up quickly when your kid wanders over.

At the same time, it's important as a coach to teach the fundamentals of the game. As a parent/coach, keep your eye on increasing the skill level of all players on the team.

You're more likely to have a successful experience coaching your own kid if you determine that you can coach your child without showing favoritism, coach all players equally without being too hard on your own kid, and gain the respect of your child as any other coach could.

One important (and oft overlooked) aspect of successfully coaching your own kid is to enjoy yourself. If you're having fun, the odds are good that your kid -- and the other players -- will, too. If you want to make sure that coaching your own kid is a positive experience, don't forget -- it really is just a game.

For lots more information on coaching your own kid, see the next page.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Brogerg, Brad. "Coaching your own kid." Parent Map. July 1, 2006. (Feb. 3, 2010)
  • Cary, Peter. "Coach Your Kid's Sports Team." U.S. News & World Report. Dec. 17, 2006.
  • Dugout Newsletter. "Coaching Children -- My Experience Coaching My Own Child." Jan. 2003. (Feb. 3, 2010)
  • Hutsler, Jack. "The Accidental Coach." Forum for Youth Investment. Aug. 3, 2001. (Feb. 3, 2010)
  • Lauer, Larry, PhD. "Should I Coach my Child?" Association for Applied Sport Psychology. (Feb. 3, 2010)
  • Rathbun, Mickey. "Coaching your own child." Youth Football USA. (Feb. 3, 2010)
  • Stratton, Richard, Ph.D. "Coaching Your Own Child." (Feb. 3, 2010)
  • Woitalla, Mike. " The Delight Of Coaching Your Own Child." American Youth Soccer Organization. (Feb. 3, 2010)