How to be the parent and let youth sports coaches do their jobs

By Janis Meredith | Posted 5/7/2018

Although parents and coaches should be on the same team in youth sports — helping kids grow, learn and have fun in competition — they do not have the same jobs. Here’s a simple breakdown of what coaches and parents should be doing:

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The coach’s jobs

  • They teach skills.
  • They work on creating team unity and focusing on the team as a whole.
  • They help kids see that hard work can be fun.
  • They stretch kids to grow in character.
  • They push kids to perform to the best of their abilities.
  • They coach the team to play hard and hopefully win.
  • They communicate to parents about their philosophy and if there’s anything a parent needs to know about their child’s play.


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The parent’s jobs

On the other hand, the parent’s job is to support their child, the entire team, and the coach, and that’s it. Unfortunately, most parents do not stick to their job description. They blur the lines, step over into the coach’s territory, and take over some of their jobs. You’ve probably seen it when:

  • Parents shout and coach from the sidelines.
  • Parents insist their children work on skills outside of practice and games.
  • Parents compare, complain and disrupt team unity.


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Although parents and youth sports coaches have different jobs, they are still partners. If there is to be unity during the season, they must recognize that even though their jobs are different, they are on the same team. In order to do this, parents must focus on their own roles, and let the coaches do their jobs — even if a parent doesn’t like the coach or agree with the coach’s strategy. 

When parents and coaches can partner like this and do what is best for the kids — putting aside their own agendas — then the athletes are the real winners.

Janis B. Meredith is a life coach for parents. This post is an excerpt from her book 11 Habits of Happy and Positive Sports Parents