There is nothing more difficult than coaching your own kids. It is made more difficult if you, the coach, were once good at the sport you’re coaching. It is made further difficult if you were good and your kid is also good. Since you were good, you and everyone else assumes your kid will be as good or better than you. The kid just wants to play. This is a recipe for disaster, and the one who will likely suffer the most is the kid.
The reason the kid often suffers the most is obvious–the talented coach/dad expects more of his kid than anyone else. More skill. More production. More focus. More desire. More effort. More of everything. If you’re coaching your kids, you know this is true. You don’t like it, you don’t want to be this way. But, it’s true.
How do you fix it? I believe the Scripture has all the answers we will ever need, even about something like this.
Proverbs 11:1–“A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight” (NASB).
In its original meaning, this verse describes the process of cheating someone out of what they are owed. Instead of weighing goods accurately, the “false balance” adds or takes away weight, altering what is owed for a certain purchase. God says he finds this disgusting. What pleases God is accurate measurements, correct weighing of goods, and a refusal to cheat someone else out of what they need and are owed.
Cheating people comes in more forms than just at the store. It’s also applicable to the kids–including yours–that you’re coaching.
How have you cheated your son or daughter through your coaching. Experience teaches me that I’ve done it by putting pressure on my kids that I don’t put on anyone else, calling my kids out in front of their teammates in a way that I wouldn’t do with anyone else, expecting perfection from them (and being devastated when they make a mistake), and by stealing from them the sheer enjoyment that should be present when playing a game they love with friends they love.
Have you been there? You’re not alone.
The remedy begins with repentance before God and your kids. It continues with reminding yourself that your kids’ performance is not a reflection on you, that you need to set the standard high for them, but not higher than what is fair for their age and maturity, that your kids are creations of a God who loves them and values them, that you are accountable to that God for your approach to them on and off the field.
No parent is immune to this. Let’s commit to pray for one another and to the elimination of “a false balance.” Let’s replace it with an approach that pleases God and builds up our kids. The power of Jesus living in and through you can do this.
Here’s a prayer:
Lord Jesus, I’m guilty. I admit it. I do this to my kids all the time. Change me. Change my mind, my heart, my outlook, my approach. I want to set a high standard for my kids, but I don’t want to ruin them in the process. Live in and through me. Make me the kind of coach you would be. Amen.