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Parenting Lessons From Coaching Football

When I was a 23-year-old dad, I coached football. In fact, throughout the first decade of my marriage, I coached football at two different high schools. During this time, I couldn’t help but notice the parallels between coaching a football team from the sidelines and parenting while allowing my children the freedom to be independent decision-makers.

Here are a few observations…

Trust is Key
The importance of trust can’t be understated. Just like I trusted my players to make decisions on the field, I trusted my children to navigate life’s choices independently. It’s about offering guidance while letting them spread their wings.

Communication is Significant
On the sidelines, effective communication was crucial for success. Listening to how the players were feeling and what they were going through on the field was important to winning. Similarly, in parenting, I emphasized open and honest communication with my kids. I encouraged them to share their thoughts and feelings, creating a safe space for meaningful conversations.

Patience is Crucial
Coaching taught me the value of patience. Just as I patiently guided players through drills and practices (and refrained from running onto the field during a game) while they were learning, I understood the need for patience in parenting. It’s about supporting our children as they learn, grow, and make mistakes. We need to allow them the time to develop at their own pace.

Flexibility is Vital
Football game plans always needed multiple adjustments, teaching me the importance of flexibility. As a parent, I learned to adapt my parenting approach based on my three children’s needs and personalities during each age and stage of their lives. Flexibility fosters better understanding, appreciation, and connection.

Celebrating is Important
Like celebrating great plays, touchdowns, and victories with my team, I celebrated my children’s achievements. Whether it’s a small victory or a significant milestone, acknowledging their efforts boosted their confidence and strengthened our bond.

In essence, coaching from the sidelines provided me with some invaluable insights that I applied daily in my journey as a parent. The above practices weren’t just coaching techniques, but also some basic parenting practices for nurturing happy, healthy, and confident children.

Take a deeper dive by watching our podcast episode, “Guiding Your Child’s Journey | Part 4 of 5”


  • Chris Reed | Pastor to Parents | Saddleback Church

    Chris married his beautiful bride, Tina, in 1990. They have three wonderful adult children, Jacob, Kaylee, and Macie Joy. Chris began pastoring at a church in Los Angeles in 1995 where he was the Children’s and Student Pastor. He was the Executive Pastor of Student Ministries at John Maxwell's church in South Florida before he came to Saddleback in 2008 as our Pastor to 20s/30s. He has since served as Pastor to Singles and Pastor to Marriages. He is currently our Pastor to Parents leading the charge for all things Parents Ministry at Saddleback. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biblical Studies and his Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership.

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