Most wrestling parents should not coach their child.
In order to be a parent and a wrestling coach, you have to walk a fine line.
Wrestling is a tough sport. Every parent wants their child to learn how to be a good wrestler, It is easy for a parent to go overboard. I firmly believe that most parents are incapable of being a parent first and a wrestling coach second.
I won’t be surprised to get some push back from wrestling parents who coach their kid.
If you’re a wrestling parent who coaches your child, you need to take a step back and determine if coaching your child is in the best interest of your kid’s development.
Today, I’m going to list six reasons why you shouldn’t coach your kid in wrestling.
You Expect too Much from Your Child
Parents who coach their child are either too lenient or way too strict with their child. Most of the time a parent is too tough on their own child.
A wrestling parent coach expects perfection. If you are not focused on how to build self-confidence, you are setting your child up to fail. Your wrestler can never give you perfection.
If you are this parent, your little wrestler will most likely quit wrestling before high school. At the very least, you will be restricting your child’s potential because he/she will be afraid to fail.
You Might Lose Your Temper
I’ve seen way too many wrestling parent coaches lose their temper with their child. I recently watched a couple of six years old wrestling at an Oklahoma youth state wrestling tournament. I didn’t know either kid.
As I was watching this particular match, I was amazed at how young they were. Both kids were crying. You could tell both kids were giving it everything they had. I was thinking to myself how much these boys will improve by the time they get to high school. I didn’t know them, but I was proud of their effort.
As the match was getting near the end, I started watching both wrestling coaches. Both guys were very animated which is normal for this sport. What really bothered me was what happened when the match was over. The dad of the kid who lost grabbed his son’s arm and dragged his boy where no one could see him. I could hear him yelling at his son. I was thinking how bad this boy must feel because he feels like he let his dad down. I’m hoping this little boys sticks with wrestling and his dad decides to sit in the stands.
Losing your temper with your child in wrestling will not achieve positive results. You are harming your child in so many ways. Maybe not physically, but definitely mentally. You are harming your relationship with your child. You could be causing your child to be afraid to try new things. Your child will grow to hate this sport and it will be your fault. If you’re a parent who is prone to lose your temper, you have no business coaching your child.
You Stop Being his Supporter
A child needs their parents to be his/her number one fans. This means no matter whether he lost or won, if your child did their best, you are proud of him. Being a parent is your number one priority. If you go from being his number one fan to his main critic, then you are not filling his emotional tank.
I think a coach who is not related to that child is best for offering constructive criticism.
Your Child Might Not Want you to Coach Them
Have you considered that your child doesn’t want you to be their wrestling coach? They don’t want to tell you because they are afraid to tell you. They don’t want to hurt your feelings or your child is afraid you might get angry.
I’m willing to bet if you could get your child’s feedback from an anonymous source, most wrestling parents would be surprised to hear that your child would prefer that you were not their wrestling coach. In these cases, a child will listen to any wrestling coach better than they will their own parents.
Difficulty Switching Coaching and Parenting Roles
One of the biggest problems with coaching your own child is not being able to turn off your coaching hat when you are away from the mat.
A wrestling parent needs to know when to focus on wrestling training and when to focus on being a parent.
Many parents are so focused on teaching their kid to be a better wrestler, that they are constantly trying to coach their child. Your child does not want to be coached 24 hours a day. They need quality parent/child time.
They need that time to focus on being a kid. If you have trouble switching off the coaching role, you probably should not coach your child.
You Might Burn Your Child Out
One of the worst things that can happen from a parent coaching their kid is burnout. Trust me there are worse things than losing a wrestling match.
If you are constantly nagging your child or losing your temper, he/she will get tired of it. Your child might put up with it for a few years. Eventually, your child will decide it’s not worth it. He will lose his love for this wonderful sport and will quit.
I used to be the dad I’m writing about. I was so focused on helping my son get better at heavyweight wrestling, that I pushed him too hard. I’m embarrassed to admit that to the wrestling community. I look back and I realize had no business coaching my kid. Luckily I realized I needed to step back and be a parent before I caused my son to quit.
I’m not telling you this to preach at you, but I’m telling you this as a wrestling parent who coached my kid and made a lot of mistakes. I’m hoping you will take my advice and at least think about whether you should coach your child.