Ask nearly any sports fan, and it’s more likely than not that the waterworks start flowing when Field of Dreams hits its crescendo:
“Hey, Dad … you wanna have a catch?” asks Kevin Costner’s steel-faced Ray Kinsella.
It’s typically 13-year-old-girl-at-a-One-Direction-concert from there on – even among the toughest, Tie Domi-est of individuals. Such is the power of sports to create that bridge between parent and child. It’s no longer just a game, but an emotional lifeline.
But what happens when that lifeline intersects with another – that of coach? Even the best parent-child relationship can be strained when mom or dad earns a coaching certificate.
My daughter’s coach will often tap one of our other coaches to talk to his daughter about her performance. “There are times when I have thoughts that I may be pushing my kids into something they may not really want or even holding them back in certain ways by coaching them at certain levels,” says Dave Harter from
Sometimes coaches overcompensate too. “I am quite often much harder on my own child as I expect a very high level of respect and sportsmanship,” says Harter. When it comes to discipline, striving for fairness can be a struggle. “You can’t come down harder on them, just because they are your kid or you can’t tell them they’re grounded or you threaten to take away their phone. You have to keep discipline hockey-related, says Nathan Brightbill, Hersey Jr Bears 14U girls coach. “Praise them when they deserve it, Instead of being worried the team parents think you’re showing favoritism.”