4 Reasons For Parents to Stop Coaching From the Stands


It was his first time up to bat in Single A little league.  My heart was racing and I wrung my hands together hoping he would at least make contact with the ball.  He wanted a hit so bad.  Strike One.  Darn it, ok two more chances.  I cupped my hands over my mouth and shouted, you can do it buddy.  I could barely contain myself in my chair, all the while chastising myself for getting this worked up over a game.  Foul ball.  Good job buddy, way to get a piece of it, I shouted! 

The ball was thrown, Solon did not swing and the umpire’s fist flew into the air in a triumphant fist – strike three.  What?  That was not a strike! Are you kidding me?  I think that guy needs glasses!  All those thoughts ran through my mind, thankfully not out of my mouth!  Instead, I applauded as my son humbly trotted off the field. Suddenly, I had the urge to sideline coach.

My husband leaned over, sensing my frustration, and said Erin, he is in little league if they don’t have a large strike window, they would walk every kid on the team twice over.  He made the right call.  Ever the voice of reason and a high school referee himself, he is all too familiar with parents like me.  Unfortunately, I know full well I am not alone because I sit on lots of sidelines and there are a lot of people who think they know better and they let the world know.

4 Reasons Why to Stop Sideline Coaching

1.  We are not the referee.

Having a referee for a husband does give me a good perspective. They do read up on the rules, take tests and attend meetings to discuss the rules of the game.  Yes, they may get a call wrong from time to time but by and large, they know what they are doing!  Generally, there is more than one referee so they can confer and over-rule a questionable play should they need to.

2.  We are not the coach.

Every year, I get an email after email looking for volunteer coaches.  The harvest is ripe and the workers are few.  I try to remember since I didn’t volunteer, my job is to help and support.  It’s no wonder they can’t find coaches when people are constantly critiquing their efforts.  Most of the coaches are volunteers.

3. It’s Confusing to the Players.

There may be times you see something the coach, the player or the referee missed.  It happens!  There may be things you would like for them to correct but shouting it from the sidelines is not the most effective practice.  It’s hard enough to learn the craft of the sport.  I fell into this trap myself yelling at my son to pass when his coach (my husband) told him to shoot!  I learned my lesson!  During the game, they should listen to their coach.

4. It Is Not Helpful.

Last year, a referee in our town was actually physically threatened because of a call made during the game.  Is that the example we want to set for our kids?  It’s a game.  I try to remember the golden rule to treat others how I would want to be treated.  As my mom taught me, if you can’t find anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Remember, what’s at the heart of the game.  Being involved in sports is so beneficial for kids.  They learn life lessons like you win some, you lose some, good old-fashioned teamwork, respect, listening, tenacity, hard work, and resilience.
We all have the choice in how we act on the sidelines.   Just remember, everyone performs a little bit better with encouragement.  Go, team! 
If you liked this article, you might like this one – Lessons In Sportsmanship

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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