Coaching Kids

Here’s a spiky little subject…coaching kids.  I’m going to dodge several minefields, partially because I am not a sport coach God bless their hearts and minds, but it’s not an easy thing to talk about.  Stuff with kids never really is.

This one goes out to the parents.  I know you want the best for your kids.  Of course you do.  You signed them up, you paid for their training, you are here and ready to watch every move they make.  I’m a dad too and I run the same gamut you do.

But you have to let us coach.  We aren’t trying to usurp your role, but rather to amplify it.  Think back to when you were a kid, to when you had a coach who told you in pointed language that you could do better because he saw better in you.  You’ll never forget that, right?  And it didn’t make you think you needed new parents, right?  You were just thankful for your coaches, for those other calming, direct, and encouraging voices in the soup of language around you–too fast, too slow, big, not big enough, etc.  Your coach was the one who said slow down and be who you can be.  And it wasn’t coming down from a mountaintop, just maybe from a hill, because it was your coach and not your mom and dad.  You pulled it into your brain and you let it be part of who you were becoming.

My things as a coach are clarity and humility.  Clarity means we don’t call something the greatest thing of all time if it was something you can do every day like your ten pushups and twenty squats.  We say you put the work in and you can now expect that of yourself.  And humility means you keep your head down because when you’re doing the right things, the world will take note–you just need to keep working and not fuss over yourself in search of external validation.  You be you, and that is good enough.

In all of that, we seek to amplify what the parents teach.  Do you have to clean your room before bed?  Of course you do dude, you don’t want to do pushups onto a pile of dirty laundry.  Did your dad teach you to throw a different way?  Okay that’s cool, here are all the good and useful things you can learn throwing that way.  Keep the good and let’s see what this looks like too.

Parents, we’ve got your back.  We’re not as important as you are, not even in the same ballpark, but we’re outside the stadium cheering for you too.  When it’s our turn at bat, give us a few minutes without a competing voice.  Because we’re not competing with you, we’re supporting you every step of the way.  It’s our job, and it’s what we want you to do if you’re coaching one of ours too.

Unless you want the kid to dance in the end zone.  In that case, you’re on your own.

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