Coach PaulOn March 2, 2012, I was invited to speak to the parents of children who attend the Hebrew Academy of Huntington Beach. The topic of my presentation was "Raising Champion Kids: Five Parenting Strategies from the Wide World of Sports." Here is a summary of five parenting strategies that I have learned after more than 20 years of working with coaches and athletes and being a parent myself.


1. Children Need Rules. Raising a child without rules is like putting a baby in a crib without walls. A good parent would not leave his or her newborn baby in a crib that didn't have any walls, and yet, a lot of parents are attempting to raise their children in a home without rules. Dr. Spock was wrong! Children need rules. As in sport, rules let children know in from out, fair from foul, and right from wrong. Rules give your children a standard by which they can measure their progress in life. When you set rules for your children, you are communicating to them that you love them and that you care enough about them to give them guidelines for their behavior.


2. Children Need Praise. Good parents spend more time telling their children what they are doing right instead of pointing out what they are doing wrong. There was a basketball team with a losing record. A new coach took over the program and implemented a strategy where he would recognize his players for doing four things right for every one thing they were doing wrong. Pretty soon the team's performance began to improve and eventually they went on to play in the state basketball championship where they won. Good parents like good coaches know that praise our children increases their confidence and reminds them that they can do things correctly.


3. Children Need Instruction. Good parents instruct rather than criticize. Legendary basketball coach, John Wooden, understood that young people don't always know what to do. So rather than criticize them for doing things incorrectly, he took the time to instruct them on how to do things right. Instead of using phrases like "stop teasing your sister," good parents use phrases like "start telling your sister her dress looks pretty today." Remember that children, like adults, don't always know what to do. Start spending more time instructing them and less time criticizing them.


4. Children Need Affection. Children who grow up without physical affection feel isolated, insecure and afraid. The next time you are watching a sport event, take a look at how the coaches and players interact with each other. If you look on the sidelines or benches, you will see that good coaches are patting their players on their backs or shoulders to comfort them, giving them high fives to celebrate them, or giving them hugs to reassure them. When we are physically affectionate with our children, even our boys, we are letting them know that we love them and care about them and are committed to their welfare.


5. Children Need Love. Champion children know without a doubt that their parents love them. If you go to the locker rooms or awards ceremonies of championship teams, you will hear one word used a lot - love. Good coaches are not afraid to use words to tell their players that they love them. Good parents do the same. Good parents tell their children everyday that they love them and then they back up those words by their behaviors - they set rules, they praise, they instruct, and they shower their children with affection.


If you implement these five strategies into your parenting, I guarantee that you will raise champion kids. If you need help implementing these strategies with your children or if you have any questions about them, please feel free to contact me at

Warmest Regards,

Coach Paul

“And if your home is just another place where you’re a stranger, and far away is just somewhere you’ve never been. I hope that you’ll remember, I am your friend.” – Rich Mullins

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Life-Changing Coaching by Paul Edward is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivative Works 3.0 License.