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There are times when parents either need or want to coach their children. Sometimes it's a good idea, and sometimes it's not.

Being the basketball coach of your child is rewarding, unique, and challenging.

My father coached me for a few years of my childhood and I have experienced and witnessed firsthand great examples, and not-so-great examples of dads coaching their children.

Here are some things to consider if you are currently coaching your child or are thinking about coaching your child.


  • I have seen a lot of instances when the parent doesn’t know when to be a parent and when to be a coach.

  • Kids will respond better if the coaching parent is in “coach” mode for practices and games but turns to “parent” mode when they are at home.

  • I have seen times when kids’ can be “burned out” by having a parent that is constantly critiquing or challenging their child.

  • There’s a time and place for everything and having a balance of being a parent and coach will be far more effective than being in constant “coach mode” all the time.

High Expectations

  • I was fortunate that when my dad coached me, he had high expectations of me but didn’t necessarily treat me differently in front of my teammates.

  • I believe it's perfectly fine if you want to hold your son or daughter to higher standards than someone else's child. I think issues can arise when a coaching parent can be “overbearing” with the coaching of their child, especially in public.

  • I personally, was more effective when my dad treated me the same as my teammates during games and practices. I didn’t feel like I had to play like Michael Jordan in order to impress him.

  • I just went out to play my best and hardest without the fear of making mistakes or being yelled at unfairly.


  • Having a constant demeanor and coaching style will help bring consistent effort from your team and child.

  • Basketball is an emotional game and that’s understandable. I would just tell the coaching parent to be as consistent as you can be in your emotions and reactions.

  • I played really well under my dad because I knew he wouldn’t get excited or upset unless there was a good reason for it.

  • If you play under a coach that is overly dramatic about every mistake or loss, then the players will begin to get “numb” to your emotions and coaching.

  • My dad rarely got mad, but when he did he had the full attention and respect of the whole team. The more consistent the coach is, the more likely the players will follow suit.

Be Realistic

  • Every coaching parent wants their child to be the best they can be.

  • I have seen issues come when they think their child is better than what he/she really is.

  • I have played on and seen teams whose coaching parent played their child the whole game when realistically, he deserved to play half the game.

  • If you are coaching your child, be realistic and treat him the same as the other players. This will go further in the long run. The team respects the coach more if they know that everyone is treated the same and playing time is directly related to production.

  • Teaching your child that production and consistency is the only way to get playing time will instill valuable lessons in them.

  • The older your child gets, the more prepared he will be to make sure that hard work and production is the only thing that matters in basketball and in life. Nothing in life is handed to you.

I hope these tips will help someone’s coaching experience be more successful and rewarding. Enjoy the experience of coaching your child and be grateful for every day that you have that chance.

It’s a special bond and experience that many kids don’t have.

Best of luck!

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