I’ve been sitting on the sidelines for about seven years watching my kids play sports. I’m into year two of coaching my youngest child’s basketball team. As a spectator and coach, I have seen, cheered, and yelled a lot! My voice is always sore after coaching basketball in very loud gyms. I yell so my team and sometimes the referees can hear me. So far it has worked out okay.

It is exciting and also anguishing to watch your child play sports. You feel the joy and elation in the good plays. And you feel the sadness and disappointment with the bad plays and tough losses.

These emotions are magnified as you are experiencing them as a coach and parent.

For the first time, I had to carry my son off of the basketball court with a sprained ankle. He has not been hurt often, which has been lucky. Rebounding and basketball is not always kind to ankles, as I know from my bball days. The hubs knows this too from playing soccer, so he has been able to apply his expert ankle taping skills to help our son recover.

And it’s fine – he’ll be fine. I’m not sure how much longer that I will be able to pick him up and carry him off of the court though!

I couldn’t help but feel sad for him as he sat on the sidelines. A few teammates joined him with injuries of their own, unfortunately. Our team persevered and scored more points in the next two games than we did in the first one. There were some bright spots to losing three games.

One big lesson – you can’t play the game for them!

I can try my best to set them up for success in the next game. I have to help my team learn and make improvements throughout the season. As we drove home from the tournament, I was writing up my next practice plan to focus on some of our weaker spots.

As a coach, there is more pressure to say and do things to motivate the team. My assistant coach and I try to emphasize the positive. Every time they step onto the court is an opportunity to learn. We lost some close games this season, but I’m grateful that our subbing rotations helped every person on the time gain some close-game playing time.

Lessons from sports can translate to everyday life.

How to bounce back and keep going after a disappointment. Hit the gym with more motivation and energy.

How to encourage your teammates. Find a kind way to help them improve or fix mistakes during a game. Hold your teammates accountable.

Stay positive, be confident – believe in yourself.

Take chances – shoot the three! Get creative – try something new.

And obviously: have fun. It is just a game!

From seeing their celebrations and disappointments, I can see how much my team cares about the outcome of each and every game. It motivates me to help prepare them for the next game in the best way that I can. It is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with my son and his friends / teammates. They are a great group of kids, who will be fun to continue to watch during the years ahead.

When I’m not coaching, I try my best to be a respectful and supportive fan. Sometimes I get a little overly excited….sorry, soccer and baseball can be nerve-wracking to watch at times!

I loved my time playing basketball and volleyball in high school, and I’m glad my kids are finding their favorite sports to enjoy as well. We’re not looking for athletic scholarships, instead we are looking for learning valuable life lessons through sports.

I try to keep that in mind when I’m watching close games to keep myself calmer!