Do Many Moms Coach?
My soccer team had a tournament this past weekend. Don’t ask me how we did, it was a little challenging to say the very, very least. But I noticed something and when I couldn’t sleep I started doing some surfing on the topic. I wondered, are there a lot of mom coaches out there in youth sports? Because I’m certainly not seeing many. I mean don’t get me wrong, I have seen a few, I know of others. My boys have only had male coaches though (they have many female Sifus at Kung Fu at least!) and at the tournament I faced only male coaches.
You might ask does it even matter, and I honestly only started out searching because I had some time on my hands and this is what I do. I research, it’s fun for me. But then I read this article from the New York Times Motherlode blog. I don’t know if the numbers are similar in Canada (the pdf this links to offers some insight), but I suspect that the number of mothers who coach isn’t much different here, although I’d love to be wrong.
Mothers do a lot, I think we’d likely all agree. I know that I am not even close to one of the more involved types and still I volunteer in the classroom (not often thanks to a DH who works away and a 4 year old, but I do try), bake cupcakes for events, help fundraise, act as a parent helper on field trips and so much more. Plus of course I’m the one who drives the kids to lessons and games, playdates and birthday parties. I’m the one who makes sure school fees are paid, supplies are purchased and doctor’s visits are scheduled. And I have a husband who actually really tries to help, but at the end of the day there is still so much on my plate. When I was signing my oldest up for soccer, I had zero interest in getting involved in coaching on top of the rest of my normal workload. But, and it’s a big but, my son wanted me to coach. So I’m trying it and honestly, I really, really am enjoying it (despite the stress and time commitment).
I’ve seen a lot of coaching styles over my years as a parent of a player, plus the many family sporting events I’ve witnessed and experienced on that side of the issue. I’ve noticed coaches who are very aggressive, competitive and loud. I’ve seen coaches who are laid-back, coaches who are disorganized and coaches who are just overwhelmed. Most of them have great intentions and they work pretty darn hard throughout the season. And I see lots of moms working as the team manager (I have a mom team manager too-she rocks for the record!) I just don’t really know that it sets the best example for our children, not to mention the tone for a team that moms are in charge of the details and dads are the authority figures. Competitive as I can personally be, I think as a coach I’m a more positive and encouraging to individual players than the average male coach might be. I focus on improvement, not winning or goal scoring. One of my players told me about a coach who rewarded the higher goal scorers, and all it made me think about was how discouraging that must have been for the kids who do a great job supporting their teammates without being the ones who score goals. I think the kids benefit from this style of authority in the sporting arena. My 10 year old wants me to coach again, so at least I have his vote of confidence!
Anyway, if you’re a mom with a kid who plays sports where parent volunteer coaches are needed I highly recommend you give it a try – I know in our organizations there is always a shortage of willing volunteers and it’s an incredible experience.Image copyright of Laurie Runs Life. Yep, that’s me, Coach Laurie, with my “helper” (aka the four-year old) setting up before a game. I have no idea what I was pointing at lol.