I love seeing dads coach youth sports. I love coaching my kids, it’s a great way to spend time with them. You get to hang out with other kids and other dads with kids a similar age. I know a lot of dads who coach and some who don’t. I would encourage every dad to do it, regardless of athletic knowledge.
My oldest son, Levi, loves basketball and baseball, two sports that I never played. I played wrestling and football, though I still coached his YMCA basketball team and little league baseball team. I hate filling out all their paperwork because it feels like a cavity search. Why do I need to provide work references, personal references, a driver’s license, SS number, bank account numbers, and personal passwords just to coach a supervised eight year old basketball league that only plays 10 games and every parent attends. It’s ridiculous. I have concealed weapons permits, I’ve been a high school coach, I have a hunting license, and I’m generally well known in our town. They don’t give these things to bad people. They should be good enough for the YMCA and little league.
I get frustrated when common sense cannot be used. So typically, I just walk up to the coach and let them know if they need any help, I’m happy to lend a hand, and they always need help. I google a few videos on how to coach youth baseball and basketball and voila, I help out. Half the battle in sports of that age is making sure kids are paying attention and know where to go. It’s not that complicated.
You get to teach some life lessons every once in a while, by helping natural leaders become more vocal with their teammates and help some kids stop eating the dirt. It really is great. Plus, you get to spend a bunch of time with your kid. This past baseball season, I got to watch Levi start off his season as one of the best and most consistent hitters on the team only to fall into a three-game slump. Then, we worked on it and got him out of his slump and back as one of the most consistent hitters again. It was a great father-son moment. It wasn’t easy in the middle of it, there were a lot of tears, wanting to quit, and frustration. But now he knows what it’s like to lose control, struggle, and regain control. He overcame a big challenge. He learned perseverance. He learned not to quit and that even when things go bad when they are hard, frustrating, even maddening, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
That could have been an experience where we let him quit because he didn’t like it anymore. Where we let him quit or pulled him out because it was frustrating as a parent to watch him be so upset and not be happy. Instead, it turned into a life lesson we can look back on.
I am a firm believer now, more so than ever that dads, not moms, need to coach their boys. I was on a team this year with all moms for a while and it was painful. Moms don’t relate to boys, especially boys playing sports. They can coach; we had a college softball coach as our coach. Technique-wise the coach was good; she knew way more than me. It is simply a matter of relating to boys. Moms don’t get boys. Dads get it.
These were some of the big things I realized this past season:
I was disappointed in this past season’s turn out for dads. I don’t know where they were, but I rarely saw them. It was all moms in the stands and on the fields. I wish more dads were in their boys’ lives. Now they may have been at work, and they might be great dads that just couldn’t make it. For whatever reason, it was just sad to see. Our season before this one, six out of the nine kids had their dads helping out with coaching. The other three dads were always there watching, just not coaching. It was a totally different outlook for me. Boys playing sports and talking to their dads is just a great, warm feeling. The kids love it and the dads like it… usually. It’s good bonding time.
There are some dads I’ve seen take it too far. Especially with the under 10s. These kids are not professionals. They are going to make lots of mistakes. They are going to get distracted. Dad should have the expectation that kids cannot play perfectly. They need encouragement when they screw up. They do need a good chewing out every once in a while, but they need encouragement too. Lots of it. Dads are more subtle about that than moms. One of the fun things I see in baseball is the old redneck farmer type in boots, gruffly walk over to a dugout, call his boy over, give him the side hug, tell him he is doing good, and that he loves him. It happens a lot. Those dads don’t voice it for other people, they don’t make a show of it. Hell, they try and hide it, but I get to see and hear it from the dugout, and the boy gets it. Those dads do that after a great hit, a great out, and after a strikeout, or a missed play.
I don’t have girls, so I don’t have a lot to say. I would assume youth sports are very similar for girls and boys. Dads probably have to tone down the testosterone, but all quality time is quality time. Girls love talking to their dads, spending time with their dads, and having a common interest with their dads. I would argue as they get older, don’t push them as aggressively as dads tend to push boys. I watched my sister, a really good athlete, quit sports in part because dad was pushing too hard.
Sports provide great opportunities for lessons for kids. Sports provides the opportunity. Did you get that? That means dad must capitalize on that opportunity. Make sure he is talking about it with his kids. The lesson is endless. You must learn to work individually and as a team. How to build leadership skills, how to handle adversity, how to handle success, how to humble yourself, how to respect the chain of command, and how to prepare. The list goes on and on.
If you can, then you should coach. You don’t need to know the sport, you really don’t. You can learn. When you get to the teenage years that will change, but in the youth leagues, get involved if you can. Try and get to as many practices and games as possible, you’re not getting those back. The kids appreciate when dad is there, even if it’s hot and boring.
ADD ON TO POST 06-17-2019
I had a comment that pointed out a few things I want to clarify.
1.) I have zero problems with a mom coaching. In fact, I think moms coaching is a good thing. I stand by my statements pointing out the difference between mom and dad because that is what I saw. It is my truth. The moms we had did a good job. We fielded a good team. We made improvements. Our head coach was a genuinely good coach. The other moms gave their best and frankly, they were out there spending time with their boys. That’s great. I still wish we had dads out there. For that matter, I wish the previous season had had at least one mom out there– because the testosterone got a little crazy sometimes.
2.) Everyone is different. I write on what I see and what I experience. Just because I say something doesn’t mean it applies to everyone on the planet. I know that. I hope you know that. A comment was made that softball team’s dugouts are loud and some male baseball players like it quiet when they bat. I 100% believe that to be true, it just was not my experience.
3.) Most of what I write is going to be focused on dad. It’s just not going to dive deep into mom’s role, or how important and valuable she is. I already know that. You know that. There are 10-million mom blogs that do that. Mom is super important. I don’t take Rhyan for granted, but I do want to see dad stepping up more. Mom doesn’t need to do everything and in a lot of families mom is doing too much and frankly, that is not fair to her. Moms, I respect you and appreciate you sooooo much that I want dad to take some things off your plate. I want him to step up in his role and lead the family, because I genuinely believe that is best for the mom, kids, the family unit, and society in general.
4.) Keep the comments coming. I loved it. It helps me as a writer. If you don’t want it shown publicly, send me a private email!!
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I’m Townsend Russell with 100% Dad – The Dad Group
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