All three of my kids play youth sports throughout the course of the year. You will find me on the sidelines with a team shirt and whistle as one of the volunteer coaches. I am what you would call a sports dad. For roughly the last 10 years, since our daughter was four, I’ve been coaching my kids and their teammates. My dad did that with my brother and me and I’m glad I am doing the same thing.
Over the years, we’ve created many memories through youth sports. I’ve been right there with our kids through some of their highs and lows. I’ve been able to teach them the fundamentals of the game as well as lessons of teamwork, sportsmanship, and hard work. I’ve been fortunate to watch them learn, grow, and develop. But recently, I’ve noticed they are not the only ones learning, growing, and developing. I am, too. It’s amazing how much I have learned by coaching. Here are the best life lessons I’ve learned as a sports dad.
To Be Patient
Like being any kind of parent, being a sports parent requires a lot of patience. Whether your kids are beginners or have been playing for years, you will learn to have patience. You have no choice.
I can remember when my kids were younger, they would run the wrong way or grab the basketball and run with it. I had a choice—either lose my mind trying to get them to understand that they were doing it wrong or patiently instruct them, knowing the change wouldn’t happen immediately.
To Have Fun
Not only is it important for the kids to have fun, but it’s also important for the parents. We all understand if our kids aren’t having fun, they most likely will not want to play. The same is true for sports parents. If we aren’t having fun, coaching our kids or playing sports with them may be short-lived.
When I’m having fun with them, I’m a better teacher and coach for my kids and their teammates. When I’m not having fun, I’m not as effective.
To Be PresentAs a parent, it is vital to be present with our kids.
As a parent, it is vital to be present with our kids. Not just physically, but emotionally and mentally. We have to put the phones and other distractions away and focus on our kids. Being a sports parent is no different.
As a sports parent, you are more than likely a volunteer. Whether you are playing with or coaching your kids, it most likely takes place in the evening after work or on the weekend, which is intended to be break time. But you have to learn to leave work and other stuff behind. Once you hit the court or field with your kids, it is about them.
After 10 years of sports parenting and youth coaching, I can definitely say it has helped contribute to my growth as a man and as a dad. If you are considering it, new to it, or a seasoned vet, don’t take it for granted.
Sound off: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from being a sports dad?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is one thing you have learned from playing sports or in another activity or hobby?”