How Coaching Prepared Me for Parenthood

As a coach, I always loved seeing my athletes grow in the sport, and even more so as individuals. I never realized how much coaching would prepare me for parenting.

1. Timeouts – In coaching we call this “run a lap for that comment” or “insert selected punishment.” The difference is I don’t punish children with running (I never did that as a coach either… probably because I was a cross country coach), but I don’t want them to associate running with getting in trouble or being punished. What I didn’t do as much of as a coach (I should have done more) would be the talk after timeouts. I make sure my children understand why they got in trouble and sent to timeout and why we shouldn’t do the action. I always end with “I love you” because I want them to know that I am disciplining them out of love not anger. 

2. Repeating instructions – It doesn’t matter what age, you have to repeat things hundreds of times. 

3. Goals/Motivation – Who knew goals and motivation were so much easier with little kids. I can motivate with an applesauce instead of ice cream (if I’m lucky) for a high school kid. 

4. Observation – Kids no matter the age are always watching. Little kids tend to repeat random things or comments at inappropriate times. Athletes like to repeat random comments to try and delay or distract from what is going on.

5. Fun – Coaching, like parenting, is fun. It has its frustrations, struggles, and tears…but it has its beautiful moments and more beautiful people. It might be hard, but you don’t want to change it because it is that rewarding and the kids are that important to you.

Represent the underdog mentality.

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