up in and athletic family, I would say I’m a competitive
I have my own children, and I am in the position of
being an American football parent coach. My son is nine
years old, and I have coached him for three seasons.
Like most parents, there is a natural tendency to want
to live vicariously through our children, and winning
is part of it. I make a conscious effort not to get
caught up with winning and living through their own
was raised with the Focolare spirituality of unity and
attended meetings into my teenage years.
has certainly left an impact and has remained with me
into adulthood. It has a major impact on my method of
coaching philosophy is to make a point of separating
practice from the actual day of the game. At practice
I am there to help each player understand that a team
is a group, organized by a leader who is there to teach
and to help them focus on working through their errors.
being said, if they make an error during the game, it
is not the time to openly correct them as I normally
do in practice. The game itself is enough pressure on
the game starts, I teach the children to just focus
on the next play, even when we score. This attitude
helped us win many games in the last minute of play
over the course of coaching my son. I enjoy seeing the
kids having fun and not feeling the pressure of the
maintain a conscious effort of showing my team that
I am not feeling pressure to win either. While it is
critical that the players realize their coach is 100%
behind them and working toward winning, it’s key
that they see calm, level-headed leader, detached from
living through their on-field performance.
now the players on my team trust me to be the same coach,
win or lose; we just keep working within the same approach.
I teach that winning comes from playing well, but they
also need to develop an attitude of being a good sport,
even when the scoreboard shows failure.
nine years old this sometime requires helping my team
get beyond their tears. It’s a real challenge.
No one wants to lose! Coaching is about becoming an
effective part of the group, working together and helping
each child have fun playing a game.
appreciate and respect that it’s also an opportunity
to shape their lives and to help them to develop as
is why I coach.
takes more of an effort on my part with my own son.
Initially, he couldn’t understand why I allowed
extra time on the clock during our final game of the
evening we were playing within a rule that games don’t
go beyond 8:30pm. At this point the team that is ahead
wins. We were losing, but since we could still tie the
game I was hoping my team would quickly score for their
morale. We were driving on the top team at the end of
a competitive effort. Just then the other coach called
the game (it was exactly 8:30). A few nights later we
wound up on the other side of the same scenario. We
were winning against a team who lost every game during
the season, including their first game against our team.
was 8:30pm, but they were driving down the field on
us, and their coach refused to give in. He kept coaching.
On their last drive, his team was responding and improving
as the opposing coach was working effectively within
what I consider my own philosophy.
offered the opportunity to play beyond the time limit.
It’s an instructional league, so I stuck to my
decision, versus sealing up a victory. They finally
scored, and the kids were very excited. When the opposing
team scored, it looked like a championship victory.
Our team then stopped the extra point, so we won by
one point but created a game for both teams that came
down to the wire.
coach came over and thanked me “big time.”
The real win was seeing them so happy and knowing that
all the kids had fun, including my own son, who said
later that he understood why I allowed more time. Again,
this is why I coach.