We love hearing about other people’s experience of parenting teens. Especially when it’s a story about how getting involved with your teenagers’ activities leads to new interests and opportunities of your own. A very big thank you to Sam for sharing her story about how supporting her children playing sport led to a new passion.
Why was I drawn as a parent to become a sport coach?
We’re all busy people, some with work, some caring for others, some with education, and so the list goes on. For me, nothing prepared me for being a side-line parent watching my children play sport.
I have always had sport in my life, with a professional sportsman as a father, so when my firstborn wanted to play sport, I was so excited. She was good and she listened, but she had other skills that would take her in a very different direction – to musical theatre, with sport as a second interest. Her passion still saw her compete at county level netball, where I had my first parental experience of embracing her emotions as she reacted to a win or a loss in a team sport.
Then along came the second child…
Not so much a singer, but physically tall for her age and everyone said… netball! So off we went, when she was 9, to a ‘turn up and play’ on a Saturday. Team member within weeks and the journey began. We went to tournaments and trials, and her ability grew and led to her to being selected for an elite pathway.
At this point, I thought I knew it all and I was going to help her coach out by telling my daughter all my knowledge. How wrong was I! The coach said, “you want to have a say, then take a whistle and let’s see how you get on!”. Challenge accepted and my netball journey began, alongside the girls.
With whistle in hand and keen to learn, I achieved the England Netball C award. I gained the experience from the other side of the court, no longer advising my daughters but admiring them for all the effort they put in on and off court. Instead of thinking I could analyse the game, I allowed them to tell me how their game went.
At this point a few parents had also stepped up to assist on the committee of this small youth club, of which I was appointed Chair. Very few coaches were available; mainly the players of senior teams helped on a weekly basis.
My passion for the sport was intense and I wanted to know more about the tactical side, so I started to watch more netball and listen to the coaching conversations. This then inspired me to take my level 2 coaching. I was nervous to go on a course with younger, keen people, and not confident that I could coach and help young boys and girls enjoy sport. But I passed the course, and my first group were the senior Back to Netball ladies and U11’s.
This was all a few years ago now and the girls now umpire and coach and are playing well into their 20’s. My son is also a talented umpire and is on a pathway to be a national level officiating umpire.
What coaching can teach us
Coaching helped me to embrace all abilities, be inclusive of all learning and welcome everyone to sport. It taught me to take time to understand styles in coaching and communication.
Personally, I have worn my legs out, so a few years ago, I challenged myself again with another netball path. I became a technical official and scoring statistician for Super League Franchises. Unbelievably I was selected for the B2022 Commonwealth Games and had my first experience as an international TO!
We now have young people aged 14-19 coaching with us, to help mentor them in leadership skills. We support young boys and girls in officiating games so that they too can experience all avenues in sport. I spend 4-6 hours a week with young people mentoring or coaching.
How sport benefits everyone
As a parent or child carer, totally get on board with what they want to try. But remember it is them that need to succeed. Although there is no greater pleasure than watching and positively supporting your children, you can also have your own personal goals.
For me, the kids I coach mean everything. Not for the win, although this is always nice, but to help them set and achieve their own personal goals. To see them challenge themselves mentally and physically to take the next step.
Sport offers so much to teenagers:
- The many health and fitness benefits
- It triggers them to be better or act better
- It helps them grow to be a good team player
- It teaches discipline, dedication and personal ambition
- It help teens to make friends
- It teaches respect for team mates, officials and coaches, and carers/parents/grandparents for giving time to help them achieve their goals
I will never forget as a parent the long journey back from a game, sharing thoughts, laughter and tears with my children. Not because I forced it, but because they wanted to. It give them the space to grow and a support net that never trapped them but was always there to comfort them.
Thank you so much, Sam! We love this and know that many parents who spend long hours ferrying their teens to practise and matches and washing kit will take heart from reading that it can be a great opportunity for them as well as their kids.
Louise & Anna x
A little bit about Equipp
We’re Louise & Anna, mum to 5 teens and young adults. We set up Equipp to help spread happiness and positivity amongst today’s amazing young people. We believe it’s vital that every teenager is given confidence to believe in themselves. Telling them how wonderful they are and putting a daily smile on their faces via the cards and gifts they receive from Equipp is integral to everything we design and produce. Have a browse around our collections of birthday and teenage milestone gifts and please do get in touch if you have any questions or would like any recommendation.
We love to celebrate teenagers in every way, and are building a community of parents who feel the same. We hope you enjoy reading our blog posts and we’d love it if you came and joined us on Instagram or Facebook to chat about parenting teens.
Oh, and we’re raising money for a fantastic teenage suicide prevention charity, Hector’s House, with a donation from every purchase from Equipp.