Coaches can play a vital role in your child’s life

by | Parenting with Courage

Like the African proverbs says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Parenting involves teamwork with various family members, teachers, and coaches through your child’s growing up years. Every child needs champions.  A coach, through words such as, “I believe in you,” or “Give it a go, you can do it,” can inspire hope, motivation, and dreams.

In an interview with Coach Thobela Thoba, he explains about this partnership and his dreams to inspire the youth to get active.

Coaches inspire their athletes to go beyond.

When you talk to Coach T, his desire to see children reach their potential and dreams are contagious. As a father, he knows how important it is to speak life into a child’s heart and to get them to believe that they have a chance to reach their goals.

The athlete is the most important person 

Many parents hold onto specific aspirations from their youth, but here’s the thing. You have to let it go. If your child displays talent and potential within a particular sport, then encourage them by all means. Be their biggest fans, but don’t you dare live your dreams vicariously through them. Parenting this way requires courage to confront your fears and your hopes.  While every child has their own gift set, we are the ones who can help empower and release them into that which sets their heart alight.

According to Coach T, “First and foremost – the most important person in a coach-athlete-parent relationship is the athlete! Everything in the best interests of the athlete. I firmly believe that each child is destined for greatness, regardless of their personal or family background. From the day they are born, I believe they can achieve greatness and make the best life for themselves if they have the right kind of support.”

Not all athletes will be the next world champion.Sport teaches life lessons

Bill McCartney, American Football coach, wrote, “All coaching is, is taking a player where he can’t take himself.” Coach T does just that. Even though few children will rise to become athletic superstars, he helps them grow beyond what they thought they could do. Through sport, they can learn valuable life lessons such as teamwork, resilience, emotional awareness, physical self-care and more.

Keep on learning and aim for your dreams.

Coach T thoughtfully says, “I’m an incurable dreamer! Since a teen, I taught myself to dream and work towards those goals.” He realized in high school that – with hard work and tenacity, he could achieve the goals he set for himself.

“I am currently living my life–long dream of being self–employed and serving young people through the different sporting organizations I lead.”

Specifically, parents should be parents. Release the coach to do his job.Coaches inspire their athletes

Coach T says that some parents struggle to let their children go and allow them to be under someone else’s care, even if it is just for 2 hours a day. Often, their reluctance to let go translates themselves as them not trusting the coaching process the athletes are in at the time.

“I communicate with my parents, and I teach them that coaching, particularly athletics coaching, is a long-term process. I show them that athletes (children) need time to adapt to a new coach, a new coaching system, to training and to the pressures that come with being on a regular coaching and training programme.

Most often parents are their children’s worst critic.

If you struggle with the parent/coach role, consider adopting a position of support, love, and care rather than venture out into taking and playing a coaching role in your children’s lives.

“Children are just that, children! Sometimes they don’t feel like training, or even competing – they are human after all.”

Coach the parents to help the kids succeed.

Parents and coaches are in a partnership. “Its important to coach the parents as well as their children, because if the children do not get the type of support they need from their parents, our job as coaches becomes that much more difficult.”

Kids love sport! The learn and grow when they move! Praise feeds their self-esteem.  At the same time, they thrive off a stable, loving and caring training environment where they feel safe, loved and appreciated.

If you are looking for a coach for your child, then consider these criteria:
  • Is the environment safe, stable, loving and caring?
  • Do the coaches have your child’s best interest at heart?

If so, pluck up the courage to release your children into their care and work with the coach to see your child grow in their chosen sport.

CoachingMaintain a sense of humor with your child

Coach T agrees that humor is necessary for a life well-lived. “We once traveled to a competition a few hours away. During a 400m race, one of our most promising 14-year old athletes at the time looked uncomfortable. At the end of the race, she came up to the stands where we were sitting and told us of how she was struggling to get forward throughout the race, but couldn’t understand why. As she was talking she took off her brand new spikes, and we realized she did not insert her studs which allow grip on the tartan track. I was angry just for a split second and just burst into uncontrollable laughter! That 14-year old is now 21, and we still need to go through a checklist to make sure she has everything she needs ahead of every race.”


Who is “Coach T”?

Thobela Thoba heads up Khulasande Sports Development and ACT Elite Training Academy, which is a high-performance athletics coaching agency based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Experienced in the world of sports coaching, administration and sports event management, his passion for youth development and providing opportunities for growth motivates him to inspire his athletes at all levels. He is married and has one child (although he is like a dad to some of his athletes too).

Making a difference

Khulasande Sports Development is a life-long dream of a young boy who grew up in the dusty streets of Motherwell.  However, through hard work from his single mother, he had the privilege of attending a school that opened a world of opportunities many of South Africa’s young children do not have.

Khulasande Sports Development is a way of giving back to the community while providing opportunities through sport. They develop young athletes from previously disadvantaged communities through various programmes. If you’d like to know more or want to get involved contact Thobela on


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