With children starting sports as young as 4-years-old, there is a bigger need for volunteer coaches than ever before. Chances are, if you have children you will be approached to coach at least once. While some parents were born to coach. More often than not parents volunteer because there are simply not enough coaches to field teams for all the children.
The good news is that there are no expectations that you have experience or even know the sport. You can learn right alongside your children. As they progress from recreational to club to elite sports you will learn more about the sports they play and how to coach them. But, before you step up to the plate as a volunteer coach as yourself these questions.
Can you commit?
Although you may be facing pressure from the organizers, it is important to be honest about this. Can you commit the time needed to do it? Being a volunteer coach is a commitment. While the game is not about winning or losing for the younger teams there are life lessons to be learned on the at field and one of the biggest lessons is the importance of showing up. If you feel like you won’t be able to commit, this is the time to say so.
Are you ready to learn?
You may not need to be an expert at the sport you are asked to coach but, it is a good idea to learn the rules. Make sure the league where you coach offers training. If not read up on the rules and look for assistant coaches who may not have as much time or want the responsibility of coaching a team, but have the knowledge to help you coach your team.
Are you ready to teach?
Being a coach is first and foremost a teaching position. Think back to your school days and the planning book your teacher always had on her desk. Take a page from her book. Create a plan for your practices. Plan the skills that you want to teach and the lessons you want the children to learn. But go beyond that and consider what you will do in different scenarios. How will you talk to a parent who complains about playing time? How will you handle a child who talks back to you or disrupts practice? Having a plan for these scenarios will make life easier for you, your assistant and your young athletes.
Can you put aside your competitive side?
When coaching younger player, your goal should be to help your players learn something at every practice and every game. If your only goal is to win, you are sure to be disappointed.
Good sportsmanship starts with you. If you cannot be a good sport whether you win or lose, coaching may not be for you.
Coaching your child’s team can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, but you need to be honest with yourself from the beginning. Are you ready to coach? Should you be an assistant coach? Or would you be better on the sidelines cheering your child on?