be a better father

How the NFL Season Can Help You Be a Better Father

Sports dads like me are more excited than normal right about now. The NFL season is here! The anticipation has been building since the draft a few months ago. Coaches and fans learn the new players they’ll have playing for their teams. Then training camp starts and we see how well they learn and follow the coaches. Next up is preseason and we get to see the players actually playing football. It all reminds me of being a dad through the different stages of raising kids. And thinking through the NFL season can help you be a better father.

As dads, we are our kids’ “coaches” through different seasons of childhood. Our job is to prepare them as best we can for the “real” season and ultimately get them to the point where they are successful. It doesn’t happen overnight, just like players don’t jump right into the season. We lay a foundation when our kids are young. They take a lot of “reps,” but they also make a lot of mistakes. We make adjustments and prepare them like a coach giving instruction. Here’s how to use the NFL season to help you prepare your kids to win in life.

Training Camp

When a player reports to training camp, he gets a scaled back version of the playbook. This will be his guide to what he’s doing during this time and will be the foundation for what he’ll do if he makes it past the preseason. Prior to the players getting the playbook, the coaches put it together. They had to think about what they want their team and players to accomplish.

Parents have to do the same. While our kids can’t read until a certain age, we give them the playbook by our actions and words. We have to be intentional in what we put into our kids’ playbooks.

Preseason and Roster Cuts

During preseason, players get to put into game action what they worked on in training camp. They get to test it out with a lot of guidance. Most NFL preseason games don’t have the same audience as regular season games, so this is where players can make mistakes on a lower level with far fewer witnesses—primarily their coaches.

Our kids make mistakes. Think of them like a preseason. Keep watching your kids and use their mistakes as teachable moments so your kids can apply the lesson when it counts even more. This is where cuts happen. No, you aren’t going to cut your kids. But you do want to cut out traits you find in them that aren’t beneficial to them.

Regular Season

As our kids reach certain ages, we should be able to give them responsibilities and trust them more.

After the final cuts are made in the preseason, the players who made it get the full playbook. They now have a basic understanding of how the team works. Now it’s time to give them more because they can handle it and have shown responsible behavior. The same is true in fatherhood. As our kids reach certain ages, we should be able to give them responsibilities and trust them more on their own.

The Playoffs

Everything up to this point has served the purpose of getting players ready to earn a spot and compete in the playoffs. This is what every NFL player and coach is gunning for. It’s now time to put everything to use with some really high stakes.

Great choices and plays can lead to a championship, and mistakes can end your season. In fatherhood, your job as “coach” doesn’t end. You’ve intentionally prepared your kids for this point. You know their weaknesses and their strengths, and you put them in a position to succeed in life.

Sound off: How else can the NFL season help you be a better father?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Why is it important to follow your instructions?”