It’s of no surprise that being a parent is a difficult job, but coaching your child’s cheer team can be as equally tricky. On the one hand, having a child on the team can help a coach connect to the team on a personal level, and could result in becoming even more driven and passionate to push the team forward. Yet, on the other hand, there could be bias towards their child, which could stir up some parent drama or friction between teammates. Another scenario to consider is that a coach could possibly overwork their child in an attempt to not be biased, which tires out their athlete and diminishes team morale. This is a tricky situation that is all too familiar for me. I have experienced this first hand, and for the most part, if managed correctly, I personally believe coaching your child’s cheer squad can be a very rewarding experience. Here are six tips that parents or coaches can use to keep things fun and constructive, both on and off the playing field.


1. Get their input first. Keeping the idea of coaching your child’s team in mind, ask your child to help you come up with a list of positives and negatives. Listen to what your child has to say before making the final decision to come on board as coach. It's much better to get things clear early, rather than two months into a long, emotional cheer season.

2. Leave your coach's hat at the front door. Don't over-practice—or over-coach—your child at home. Since you are both their parent and their coach, this could lead to your child feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused. Ultimately, this can lead to them wanting to quit the team (and nobody wants that).

3. Keep things fair and equal at all times. Be a parent at home, but be a coach at games and practices. The ability to make fair and honest decisions dealing with your children and other team members will strengthen the respect that your child will have for you (as well as the rest of the team).

4. Tell the truth. Be open and honest with other parents when dealing with team issues, even if they involve your kid. There will always be disagreements between kids and parents, or feelings of jealousy because you are the coach. Just remember to handle those situations quickly, and with open communication. Remember: you are setting the example, so don’t just talk about it, be about it.

5. Spread the love around. Give your child praise, but avoid showing preferential treatment like giving extra playing time or special duties to your child. Conversely, avoid diminishing your child's playing time, or giving less one-on-one time in an effort to show that you are not playing favorites, as your child will begin to feel unfairly treated. It's a tough balance, but one that a coach or a parent needs to be aware of (this is especially true with pre-teen kids).

6. Take a step back. If ever in doubt about how to treat a situation involving your child on the field, think of what you would do if you were dealing with a child other than your own. This could be an effective way to not only properly coach your own child, but could also help your relationship moving forward.

What’s your opinion of a cheer coach having children on the team? Are you coaching your own child? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!