You either drew the short straw or won the lottery. Congratulations! You’re a coach now! This position makes you not only a role model for your own child, but for other kids as well. It’s a fun job, a great way to spend time with your family, and makes you a community leader. This is not a role to take lightly. Heed these few suggestions to make the season smooth as a catcher’s mitt.

It’s All in the Tone

As a parent, you know how hard it can sometimes be to corral a group of children. As a coach, you’ll need to learn how to raise your voice loud enough to instruct the kids without them thinking you are angry. Remember that at this age, kids are there to have fun and develop their skill. Don’t take yourself too seriously! Get to know your athletes on an individual level to earn their respect and trust.

Be sure that you use an encouraging tone and discuss rules and plans before the game. Get them started with a pep talk. They should know that you’re proud of them before the game, no matter what the outcome.

Team Unity

You need more than a whistle to communicate with your group. Keep a list of emails and phone numbers for each parent, as well as an emergency contact for each player. Use these contact methods to reach out to parents with news and reminders. This will unify your team and keep them all on track. You might even create a Facebook page for your team.

Another way to show unity is to get matching t-shirts for the team. Look for an online store that can fulfill your order quickly and seamlessly. Search for companies like Absolute Screen Printing that fill orders in only two weeks and offer free shipping so you get your team gear before your first game. If your team has sponsors, consider listing them on your team shirts. Consider giving everybody a nickname and putting it on the back of each shirt.

Don’t Forget Snacks!

You may have to give your players a push sometimes. That’s what a coach is for. They’ll still love you regardless, but they’ll love you even more if you keep snacks and drinks on hand. You may ask the parents to chip in occasionally so that you can keep coolers stocked and a snack for after each game. Frozen mandarin slices are excellent for summer games. Consider going out for ice cream or dinner as a team as well.

The best role models are both firm and loving. Bring out the best in your kids, and they’ll bring out the best in you. Being a parent coach can certainly have it’s ups and downs. Remember to ask for advice from others who have done it before! Mixing both coaching life, work life and family life can be difficult but as you plan ahead, your time will be much more manageable. Hold parent meetings regularly to make sure everyone is satisfied and on the same page. Don’t worry, you’ll do great!