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14 Reasons Why Parents Shouldn't Coach From the Sidelines

14 Reasons Why Parents Shouldn't Coach From the Sidelines

Shouting from the sidelines and trying to coach your children is a form of joysticking that rarely leads to desired results.

Whether it's trying to instill that winning habit or you think they made the wrong pass, the reality is that children are much more likely to tune you out than take your direction.

And even if they do listen, research has shown that it's more likely to lead to poorer performance and lower self-esteem.

Here are 10 reasons why parents shouldn't coach from the sidelines:

1. Multiple Messages Will Confuse Them

If you have several different parents trying to coach from the sidelines, your children are going to get confused.

They won't know who to listen to and will likely tune all of you out or get even more stressed out.

2. You Set A Poor Example Of Self-control

You are your child's number one teacher and seeing you lose your cool on the sidelines is not setting a good example.

They'll learn that it's okay to get angry and yell and that can quickly lead to problems both on and off the playing field.

Related: 20 Proven Ways To Help Your Child Do Well At School

3. It Invites Criticism From Other Parents

Other parents will likely think you're crazy for trying to coach from the sidelines and they may give you some dirty looks or say some less than kind things.

This can be very discouraging and make you feel like you're not doing a good job as a parent.

Surely it is more important for everyone involved in the team and club to be at one with the coaching message, rather than having a disparate group of people sending out different messages?

4. You Are Hindering Your Decision-Making Process

Now, this point is similar to confusing them but made even worse.

If your child has to second guess themselves on the playing field because they're trying to please you, it's going to hinder their decision-making process.

This will lead to them either making poor decisions or not trusting their own instincts which can be very detrimental to their development.

5. You Are Disrupting The Flow Of The Game

When you're shouting from the sidelines, you're disrupting the flow of the game.

This can be very distracting and confusing for both your child and the other players on the field.

It's important to remember that children are trying to focus on the game and if you're constantly interrupting them, it's going to be very difficult for them to stay focused.

The most important message and most important voice should be delivered by the coach, not parents from the sidelines.

6. Players Are Forced To Choose Who To Listen To

Trying to focus with multiple voices and trying to give them direction is very difficult for children.

They'll be forced to choose who to listen to and it's likely that they'll just tune all of you out in the end.

7. This Can Lead To Poor Performance

If your child is trying to please you or follow your instructions, it's likely that their performance will suffer.

They won't be able to focus on the task at hand and this can lead to poor performance and ultimately, disappointment.

8. It Can Lower Their Self-Esteem

Children who constantly feel like they're being critiqued by their parents are more likely to have lower self-esteem.

This is because they're always second-guessing themselves and feeling like they're not good enough.

It Can Be Detrimental To Their Development

If you're constantly coaching from the sidelines, you're not giving your child a chance to develop their own skills and instincts.

They need to be able to make mistakes and learn from them in order to grow and develop as both players and people.

9. Raises Anxiety And Removes The Fun

Most children will be anxious enough before a big game without having to worry about pleasing their parents.

This can quickly take the fun out of the game and make it more of a chore than something they enjoy.

10. It Can Create A Division In The Family

If you and your spouse are constantly arguing about what your child should or shouldn't be doing on the playing field, it can quickly create a division in your family.

This is because you're both putting your own desires and expectations above what's best for your child.

This means, there will be even more pressure on them if they don't perform well since they don't want to disappoint either parent.

11. Reduces Respectability For Coaches

Your coach needs to have authority over the team and if you constantly undermine their authority, it will be very difficult for them to be respected.

This can quickly lead to a decline in morale and an overall reduction in the quality of coaching.

Your child and the other children may even stop listening to the coach altogether if they feel like you know more about the game than them.

12. Referees Will Be Undermined

Not only do coaches feel undermined, but refs do as well.

If you're constantly arguing with the refs or trying to take control of the game, it will be very difficult for them to do their job properly.

This can lead to more mistakes being made and a general feeling of chaos on the playing field.

No one wants this and it's important to remember that the refs are just trying to do their job.

Don't forget, that 99% of them volunteer their time to do this. If they keep receiving abuse they will be inclined to stop refereeing altogether.

It will also discourage others from wanting to take on this important role.

13. Embarrass Your Child

Quite simply, you are embarrassing your child when you act this way.

They are likely to be embarrassed by your behavior and this can have a lasting effect on their self-esteem.

It's important to remember that children are very impressionable at this age and you don't want to do anything that will make them feel bad about themselves.

Oftentimes, all they want to do is fit in with their peers and this can be very difficult if their parents are constantly making a scene.

14. It Can Ruin Their Relationship With The Game

If you're always yelling and berating your child, it's likely that they will start to hate the game.

This is because they associate the game with all of the negativity that you bring to it.

They won't be able to enjoy it and eventually, they may even want to quit altogether.

It's important to remember that children need to have fun when they're playing sports.

If they're not enjoying it, then there's really no point in them doing it.

What Should Parents Do Instead Of Yelling From The Sidelines?

Instead of doing the 14 things listed above, parents should try to do the following:

  • Stand and watch the game quietly giving encouraging words when needed
  • Call out positive words of encouragement
  • Don't raise your voice
  • Compliment your child's effort rather than their results
  • Focus on the process rather than the outcome
  • Encourage good sportsmanship
  • Applaud all players, not just your own child
  • Offer a supportive ear after the game
  • Be a role model for your child by displaying good sportsmanship yourself
  • Thank the coach and referees after the game


Parents should never coach from the sidelines because it can create a division in the family, undermines the authority of coaches, and embarrasses their children.

Parents should instead stand and watch the game quietly, call out positive words of encouragement, and applaud all players after the game.

You'll find that this is a much more effective way to support your child and their team. It will also create a positive environment that everyone can enjoy.

Think about it? If every parent adopted this approach, wouldn't it make for a much more enjoyable experience for everyone involved?

Tell us what you think in the comments below...

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