I always wondered how a working dad can be involved in his kid’s sports, until I did it myself. (I even ended up coaching!)
Before I had kids, I imagined being the football coach, the basketball coach and the soccer coach. What I didn’t realize was that my work schedule of 8-6 was going to compete with that time. Here is how I have found ways to be involved, while still maintaining a full day work schedule.
1– Have all of your kids play the same sport. We introduced our kids to wrestling and all of our boys can wrestle together, because the team is from age 5-12.
2– Meet them at practice. If I can’t be there, my wife takes them and as soon as I arrive, she takes our younger two children home and I stay with the older kids.
3– Go to the games on the weekend. I rarely work weekends and when I do, I try to make sure that it does not happen on the same weekend.
4– Pick sports that start later in the day. Wrestling and football both start at 6:00.
5– Be an assistant coach, instead of the head coach. You are still very much involved, but if you have to be at work, the team does not suffer.
6– Encourage them even after practice. During our ride home from the game or practice, I tell them what I liked that they did and what they can do better next time. I remind them that we don’t start out knowing it all, so we need to work hard, just like they are doing.
7– Meet the other player’s parents. Our kids like the fact that because I am an assistant coach for football and wrestling, it gives us the opportunity to become friends with his teammates outside of the sport. They feel more involved and part of the team.
8– Get updates from others. If you have to miss a game or practice, have your wife or a teammate’s parent text you with updates. Whenever I have to miss, I will text my wife back and forth and when I get home, the kids will read the texts to see how I reacted to the news that my wife was telling them. It shows them that I was thinking about them even when I wasn’t there.
9– Have someone record a video for you. Watch it with your child, not alone. They will be just as excited to watch themselves play (and watch your reaction) as you will be!
10– Leave an encouraging note for your child before you leave for work. I like to leave notes on the counter for my family if I won’t see them that day, if I have to work late. If you have younger kids, putting a note in their lunch box is a fun surprise that will put a smile on their face. “Good luck at practice tonight. See you there!”