Advice for coaching your child's team

Sports expert and educator,John O'Sullivan, explains how parents can maintain healthy relationships with their children while simultaneously being a coach and a parent.
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Advice for coaching your child's team

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My best advice to any parent who is coaching their son or their daughter is that you have to separate between being dad or mom and being coach. And so, when you step on the field, you're a coach and your child has to understand that that they are now not the most important person in your life. They are one of 10 or one of 12 or one of 16. But when practice ends, you have to take off your coaching hat and you have to become dad or mom again. What I see a lot is that parents don’t or not able to make that distinction. They don’t let go of the coaching hat. They keep it on and what happens is the only thing they ever talked about with their kids is sports or the team or the game. And then I think the other really important thing is that parents have to understand that it’s very hard sometimes on your child when you are their coach, and so you should ask him every season, “Do you want me to coach again?” Because in the role of coach, sometime you have to be a little bit harsh on your kid’s best friends and that can affect their relationships in school and in life. And so, it's very hard thing to do and it’s a very fine line to walk, but I think it’s a great thing to be able to do for your kids and if you can just separate parent and coach, then you are on a good path.

Sports expert and educator,John O'Sullivan, explains how parents can maintain healthy relationships with their children while simultaneously being a coach and a parent.

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John O'Sullivan

Founder of Changing The Game Project

John O’Sullivan founded the Changing the Game Project in 2012 in order to help parents, coaches and youth sports organizations create a more child-centered sports experience for our young athletes. John is a former collegiate and professional player, and worked for 20 years on the youth, high school and college level as a coach and club Technical Director. He holds a USSF A License, NSCAA Advanced National Diploma, and a US Youth Soccer National License. His blog is now one of the most popular youth sports websites in the US, and he has been a featured presenter at TEDx Bend Oregon, IMG Academy, and this week at the NSCAA Convention. The Changing the Game Project provides live and online parent and coaching education workshops, webinars, and consulting services.

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