PCA Celebrates Mom-Coaches in Youth Sports This Mother’s Day, and All Year Long!

PCA Celebrates Mom-Coaches in Youth Sports This Mother’s Day, and All Year Long!

Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) celebrates Mother’s Day with a tribute to the amazing mom-coaches leading and coaching in youth sport across the country. Mom-coaches provide incredible contributions to youth sports, yet, we could have many more moms actively coaching if mothers encounter inclusive, welcoming, and supportive environments!

PCA is highlighting three amazing mom-coaches and their 10 quick insights from across the country: Daycia Clarke, PCA Director of Community Impact (New York; basketball and track and field), Carmyn Samuel, PCA Program Content & Training Specialist (Florida; basketball), and Tiffany Fong, Athletic Director and Coach (California, volleyball).

Supports for Mom-Coaches 

  • Mentor Moms to CoachCoach Clarke shares about the power of support for mom-coaches, how we need more of it, and how she’s mentoring new mom-coaches. I did not receive much support in my first coaching season – we need support for mom coaches. With some training, I could have walked into my first practice confidently, instead of with trepidation. Since then, I have always tried to invite a mom to be a junior coach with me each season so that they can have a positive first experience.”
  • Provide SupportCoach Samuel shares how she’s “always coached in programs that have a support system for families, built-in or organic” and she links to coaches that “understand the need for balancing family and coaching responsibilities.” Coach Samuel’s “biggest supporters” are her “husband and three kids.” There is a “mutual understanding in our household that the work that mommy does is really important.” Now that her kids are older, they even share certain coaching responsibilities with Coach Samuel!
  • Help from the VillageCoach Fong shares how she “gets help from other parents to cover childcare so she can coach a youth sports team, as it takes a village! There are other parents who help us with carpooling my son to his own practice, while I’m coaching. When other families understand the majority of parent coaches are volunteers, this provides a more communal experience for the team overall.”

Overcoming Hurdles

  • Accept and Respect Mom CoachesWe can all work to remove the hurdles mom-coaches face. Coach Clarke shares “[t]he biggest hurdle has been acceptance and respect as a coach.” Coach Clarke had “parents walk past me in search of ‘the coach’ despite my attire and equipment. A dad explained ‘how to be a better coach’ despite never having played the sport personally. If the organization had intentionally announced and celebrated mom and women coaches, some of these negative moments could be avoided.” We can all support mom-coaches in their role by respecting them and celebrating their gifts for our kids and communities. This includes overcoming biases and preconceptions.
  • Invite Moms to CoachCoach Samuel notes that “[t]here are many reasons moms don’t or are unable to coach: not being asked, not having time or not feeling equipped” and emphasizes that “more moms need to be invited to coach.” Coach Samuel adds that “getting more girls involved in sports from the time they are young through graduating high school must be a priority. If and when they become moms in the future they will be more likely to seek coaching opportunities because sports was a part of their life growing up.”
  • Examine and Overcome BiasCoach Fong continues that “assumptions and stereotypes are still present, including an archaic idea that moms are just not interested, don’t have the background or the schedule to be available.” Coach Fong highlights challenging the “idea that this is the best/easiest way for the male parent to connect,” in comparison to moms. Thus, we can all join in supporting mom-coaches by examining biases and ensuring that the parent, guardian, and/or caregiver of the family, no matter their gender or role, can be a terrific coach to youth.

Joys and Benefits of Coaching

  • Example-Setting & GrowthCoach Clarke notes her “favorite aspect is being a mom that coaches youth sports and the example I set for my daughters; my daughters can see me working and leading young girls to fall in love with themselves as athletes.” Coach Samuel adds that “it inspires me most to see players grow outside of their comfort zones. This is possible because I get the opportunity to be a catalyst for building confidence, even while being a mom.”

  • Incredible Role ModelsCoach Fong shares how “[s]pending time with my child is my favorite part about being his coach. I honestly want him to have other coaches so he can hear different voices and have more positive adults in his village.  And I love showing his peers that moms can coach, be athletic, and understand/teach the fundamentals, rules, and game strategies.” Moms coaching are being there for their kids and families in critical ways.
  • Pride for Mom-Coaches – Coach Samuel adds, “[e]ven though my family and I share a collective passion for sports, there are times I doubt if I should coach because of the time commitment. My husband and my children are first in reassuring me that it’s important for me to chase my dreams and that they too enjoy getting to see me do something that is really hard and really rewarding. The most validating words as a mom is hearing your children say, ‘Mommy, I am so proud of you.’”

  • Moms Can CoachCoach Fong adds, “I’ve heard other moms say that they ‘don’t know the sport’ or that they ‘wouldn’t be good at it.’  My general response is you’re a mom, we figure these things out.  We can be more than the driver or the snack coordinator.  It is definitely worth having that be a part of your mom resumé”

To learn more about becoming a new coach for a program or community in need, ways to get training to strengthen coaching skills, or more on sports equity work, including our Gender Equity Initiative visit positivecoach.org.