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Coaching From The Sidelines

Coaching From The Sidelines

This is from a recent Blog article written by our Coach Training partners at Play Like A Champion Today.

Most sports parents have the best intentions when attending a child’s game. These parents hope to support their young athlete by cheering and offering positive encouragement from the stands. Yet too often this encouragement takes the form of “coaching” the child, even if that’s not the intention. As Athletic Director Matthew Pope points out in the video above , a parent offering seemingly harmless instruction can create confusion for the athlete, undermine the coach and hurt the team.

Keep in mind that your child’s coach most likely has the best interests of both the team and your child’s athletic development in mind. He or she has instructed the athletes based on certain goals or strategies and will be providing important instruction to that end during a game. Consider also that a game can already be a difficult place for a young athlete to focus; a cacophony of coaches, parents, teammates and even officials all trying to communicate while an athlete focuses on his or her next move can sow confusion and limit a child’s ability to maximize performance. Something as simple as the common admonition to “shoot” or “pass” from parents can hurt the athlete more than it helps.

Don’t just take it from us. University of South Carolina Men’s Basketball Coach Frank Martin has thoughts on parents coaching from the sideline. The animated Martin has a great perspective on the topic.
Play Like a Champion encourages parents to leave the coaching to the coach and do their best to encourage the whole team through cheering and affirmation. Wonder if you are guilty of “coaching from the sideline”? Take a moment to ask your athlete if they hear you in the stands. What does he or she think? Is what you’re saying helpful? Is it difficult for them to focus on their coach or the game in front of them? Take to heart your child’s response and consider your approach during the next game. Share this advice with other parents and encourage them to do the same. By focusing on our role as parents and leaving instruction to the coaches, your athlete and his or her team will better develop while enjoying the experience.
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