What Parents Can Learn From NFL Coaches by Erika Katz

Did you ever wonder why your kids listen to their coaches and not to you? It’s because their coaches hold them accountable! Show up on time, or get benched!

My son had just turned fourteen, and I asked him to pick up his shoes from the den no less than three times only to be ignored until I threatened to throw out his beloved high-tops. The next day at his varsity basketball game, his coach asked him to pick up balls, cones, and even some of the other players’ shoes. He had them in his hand in three seconds!  That made me wonder- what were the coaches doing that I was not!

I started to read coaching books by successful NFL coaches. What I learned changed the way I parented and unified my family in ways I never thought possible. Next, I interviewed 20 NFL Head Coaches and Hall of Fame players and developed a parenting style I call Coach Parenting. Here is a quiz and some tips from the book that will transform your family into a championship team!

Quiz – https://www.erikakatz.com/quiz-what-kind-of-coach-are-you/

Assuming The Role Of Head Coach

“I think the style that works best depends on your personality. Some people coach with fear and others are players’ coaches, but no matter what your style, all coaches have to demand the respect of the players.” – Jimmy Johnson, former Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys

If you never raised your voice and now you are barking orders, no one will take you seriously. Be yourself but be firm with the rules you make. Remember, the coach makes the rules not the players.

Create A Winning Culture

“When Kyle [head coach of the San Francisco 49er’s] and I coached together, we would go through every situation. What would we have done differently if we had to do it over again? You try to eliminate mistakes. We would go through every situation on our side and the other side. We asked ourselves, ‘Was this the best thing to do?’ That’s just preparation.” Mike Shanahan former Head Coach of The Denver Broncos

Prepare your kids for what lies ahead. It builds trust and helps them be more independent. At the dinner table, talk about their favorite celebrities who made a bad choice that week. Ask them what they would do in that situation and let them know you value you their opinion. Helping them learn from the mistakes of others is a great way to do a run through should they ever find themselves in a similar situation.

 Getting The Buy-In

“My style was consistent. I always thought that one of the things we had to be (right or wrong) was consistent with how we treated situations. If there were consequences for being late, we had to be consistent with how we implemented that.” Dave Wannstedt, former Head Coach of the Chicago Bears

When you set an expectation, let them know ahead of time what the consequence will be should they not meet the expectation. If they fail to follow their rules, be sure to follow through. If you consistently do what you say you will do, your kids will buy in and join.

Create Structure

“As a coach, discipline translates into everything we do and how we coach our players. When we are in practice, are we going to touch the line on every drill? Because if you are half a step short in the drill, then when it means the most, you will be half a step short in the game.” –John Harbaugh, head coach of the Baltimore Ravens

Structure helps your teens excel and makes family life more manageable. Print a schedule for each one of your children. Put in the non-negotiables like school and sleep. Add in consistent meal times and bed times and make sure there is time for relaxation and exercise. Being disciplined about time management can create stability for your teens and let them know what to expect and when.


A parenting and lifestyle expert, Erika Katz is the author of Coach Parenting: Raising Teenagers with Advice From Pro Football’s Greatest Head Coaches as well as the Bonding Over Beauty Parenting Book Series. Erika can be seen on “The Mom Jury” segment for the Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda. She is a frequent guest of Access Hollywood, Inside Edition, NBC News 4 New York, Fox 5 New York, CBS2 New York, PIX11 News, and Telemundo. She discusses parenting topics, the impact of social media on teens, as well as lifestyle.