How To Strengthen Relationships When Coaching Your Child

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It was an easy decision for me to volunteer my time as a coach so I could spend more time with my kids. 

I wouldn’t be able to picture myself in the stands at a hockey game watching without being involved in some way or another on the bench. That would be like having an itch you can’t scratch. 

My kids definitely have some maturing to do when they dont get their way. Their reactions are always much bigger than the problem. And if I am their coach, the reactions worsen compared to if I were to be in the stands. 

I’d never forget the first year of Nash’s U9 season. We were playing British bulldog at the end of practice. After the first attempt, Nash got caught and completely yard saled across the middle of the ice. 

Without any reaction to his behavior, I continued to talk to the team as I grabbed his left skate and dragged him off to the side. Of course, I was embarrassed! The other coaches laughed, but I was trying not to draw any more attention to him than he had already created.

Coaching your own kid has its perks, but it definitely has its flaws.

Pros Of Coaching Your Child Hockey Team

Quality Time and Bonding

I am one half of a co-parent of a split family, which is proven to have advantages and disadvantages as a parent and for the kids. Having them 50 percent of the time helps grow the relationship with my kids in a way that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. 

For example,

Picking and dropping my kids off at school is something I would have never experienced if I was still married to their mother. Seeing that side of my kids has helped with our relationship. 

But on the other side, only having them 50 percent of the time creates the feeling of guilt that you aren’t a part of their life every day. 

Having the privilege to coach your own kids will give you that extra quality time and help you get to know and become familiar with their friends. Nash shares the love of the game as much as I do, and it carries over right into watching hockey on TV.

Making Memories

Sadly every coach has the ability to make or break their players by turning them on or off from hockey.

I’ve heard of coaches that turned players away from ever wanting to play the game again. And have seen the best coaches give kids the dream of wanting to play in the NHL.

Oliver started hockey a couple of years later than most kids. I remember the joy he expressed during practices. We were able to see each other in a different atmosphere with a coach and student relationship. I was able to see him try something new and enjoy it as much as he did up close front and center.

No One Knows Your Child Better

I’ve signed my kids up for power skating, hockey camps, and basic skating lessons.

There is honestly nothing more frustrating than sitting in the stands watching your kids do a drill wrong or with 50 percent effort. 

And sometimes it’s not about going 110 percent! Nash is a kid that wants to be the first one in line and the fastest one done. Sometimes this mentality is prioritized over learning proper skating techniques. 

Watching in the stands and seeing him doing the drills wrong drives me crazy! But the truth is that hockey camps have too many kids to instructor ratios to be able to stop and help.

Being up close to your kids on the ice, you know what you’re looking for and can correct any problems before they start. 

Check out my article How To Overcome 6 Bad Hockey Habits

Cons Of Coaching your Child 

Balance Between Coach And Parent

Our kids know us as moms or dads. The moment we show up at the rink is when we need to throw our coach hat on, leaving the parent’s role at the door. 

There is nothing worse than when you are on the ice talking with your team. And all of a sudden you hear, “dad, dad?” When addressed as dad, I quickly turn to my kids and say, “call me Shaun or coach.” 

It might be weird having your kid call you by your first name. But trust me when I say there is nothing worse than being called dad in front of a dozen kids. 

Actually, having our kids refer to their parents as “coach” or call us by our first name makes for noticeable growth and stronger relationships with other teammates. 

Preferred Treatment 

It doesn’t matter how good a player is on my team. If the effort is there, that player will see more ice time. 

Sometimes you want your kid to get the most out of each game by double shifting them, even the games they aren’t playing the best. 

But as a coach, we need to put any favorable feelings aside and do what is better for the team. 

Nash can be a whiny kid when not getting his way. And I know I’m guilty of giving him what he wants to avoid embarrassment. 

Neither of us will learn anything if I keep giving in to his needs and not looking out for what’s best for him. Making a decision for the team needs to be the first priority. 

Showing preferred treatment to your child can be picked up from other players and create an atmosphere in the change room around negativity, leading to a drop-in performance throughout the team. 

Added Stress

Every season before I apply as a coach, I always ask my kids if they want me as a coach. The added stress this can bring on a youth player of having their dad or mom who usually has higher expectations with their kids can strain their relationship. 

I have heard of coaches that have physically abused their kids on the bench for not playing well enough, causing a fast track of embarrassment and resentment. 


The Pros out way the Cons when coaching your kids. Just keep in mind every individual has more control over how much the Cons of coaching can take over your relationship with your kids and other parents.

When finding yourself like I was and feeling like you are missing out on quality time with your kids because of a split family. Becoming a coach for your kid is something I would 100 percent recommend. It gives mutual respect for the sport and quality bonding time. 



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