In March of 2018, I had my first experience of coaching one of my sons for the final time. I reflected on what I had learned in a prior post titled "What I learned from Coaching my son". In that post, I promised to complete the story when my youngest son completed his playing career for me.
You can read part one here.
My oldest son Hayden, who was featured in my first post, is now a junior in college and working towards a degree in education. He aspires to be a college basketball Coach and has the privilege of working for Coach Jimmy Elgas at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.
My youngest son Evan, just completed his High School playing career on Thursday, March 11, 2021. As you all know and experienced, the preparation for the 2020-2021 season was filled so much uncertainty and fear that when we were given the go ahead to begin practice, we still never thought we would play. We ended up playing 30 games and finished with an 18-12 record.
In the previous post, The 3 things I talked about were: He isn't perfect, He has to live with the last name, He knows I love him away from the game.
I'll begin by saying this. Evan's journey was a lot different that Hayden's. I was so hard on Hayden that I never gave him a real chance because I was worried about what people would say. After finishing this season I've learned one thing for sure: If they are going to talk, they are going to talk. I was easier on Evan because of how I treated Hayden. I still coached him hard but I know I messed that up with him and if I could go back I would.
My friend Coach Scott Bowlin use to tell me "You need to play Hayden more. It means more to him because he lives with you and knows the pressure." I wish I would have listened. Every time I tried a rebuttal Scott would say "You don't think those parents wouldn't be playing their son? You ever had a parent meeting where they came in wanting you to play someone else's kid more?" He was and is right.
Here are the new things I've learned in the past 4 years about coaching your child
1. You don't have to be hard on them. Other will do that .
Your child is going to deal with stress that other players don't have to. If they are really good, it's because you favor them. If they are in the middle of the team and you play them, it's because you favor them. If they aren't any good and you keep them on the roster....it's because you favor them. A Coach's kid is expected to be the best. I don't really understand that ideology. I don't expect an English teacher's child to read at a collegiate level in the 8th grade. Your child is going to face unfair scrutiny because of your position.
If your child starts, they are going to hear it from opposing fans. We even had a couple parents involved in that. One of the things that has made it easier is social media and hiding behind an account and keyboard.
2. Coach's kid Perks
There are certain perks that come with being a Coach's kid. Perks like getting yelled at to come out of their bedroom to watch a clip of them making a turnover, or living with the fact their parent is always Coach in the community.
At the current time, Evan doesn't want to coach. He has seem more of the bad side of the business than his brother did. Hayden's class was really special. I had ZERO parent meetings from that class. It was also the most successful team in our school's history.
I read this about this generation this summer and it holds true for adults too. "We are more connected now than ever and have the smallest sense of community." We have access to a lot of information without ever speaking to the source.
Your child is going to have access to all the complaints made about you as a Coach. They are going to see how their teammates parents feels about you. A lot of that. Let's be honest, ALL of that is based on playing time. If you child plays a lot, they may feel the guilt of causing you so much headache. We had 6 seniors this season. Evan came to me about starting the other 5 on our senior night. He tried all the time to make my job easier. If he felt he was playing bad, he would ask for a sub. He didn't want to shoot despite being a career 37% shooter from 3. He felt the pressure. No other player has to worry about their parent's job with every shot they take. That's the privilege of being be Coach's kid.
3. Your Child will learn how to separate
If you do it the right way, your child will learn to separate feelings and business. They will learn to ignore the noise and focus on what matters: the team. They will learn how to handle stress better than any other student-athlete, if you do it right. Your child never gets the benefit of their parent emailing the coach about playing time but not wanting their child to know they are doing it.
Coaching my two sons is second only to being their Dad. I know that learned about servant leadership, how to be a part of something and how to block out the negativity. We have shared laughs, tears, uncertainty, moments that we all wondered is this worth it and moments we will never forget.
Coaching your child is going to be hard. You will be scrutinized, judged, complained about and so will your child. But it is worth it.
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