GRAPEVINE, Texas – Grapevine Faith is home to many athletes and coaches, but one might be surprised by the number of athletes who are coached by one of their parents. There are at least six families that have had one or more athlete under their father’s tutelage while in high school — the Postemas, Smiths, Suggs, Severides, McDonalds and the Williams’. Each family we talked to mentioned numerous challenges, but even more benefits. “Coaching your own son has a different dynamic because you have the duality of being his coach and his dad at the same time,” football coach Bobby Williams said. “But overall it’s a very rewarding experience.”
The number one challenge is “trying to pick out when he’s my dad, and when he’s my coach,” sophomore Hannah Smith said. It can be challenging to make sure “that he knows and you know that you’re his coach during practice,” Coach Williams said. “I’m not dad. I’m Coach Bobby, and the things that I do and say, I treat you the same as I would any other player.” That dynamic can be hard for some on the outside to understand.
Some players also feel that they are put under a bit more pressure with their dad as a coach. Senior Zach Postema said, “It’s very different. Since he’s also my dad, he’s a lot harder on me personally.” Smith said that she sometimes feels like she has to live up to higher expectations that some other players would.
But living with one’s coach has its advantages as well. “Sometimes it’s easier because you have more time to have things explained to you,” Smith said. “He understands me more, so he understands how I like to be taught.” Postema said that one of his favorite things is that he gets to see his dad everyday. One of the hardest things for a coach to do can be not taking the game home with him. “I try and do a good job of ‘I’m his coach, I’m his coach,’ and I turn it off when I’m his dad,” Coach Williams said. “I ask him things and talk about things with him like a dad would, but I don’t try to ask things like a coach would.”
“I’m happy when he does well. As a coach I want all the kids to do well, but there’s something about when you’re his dad,” said Coach Williams. Not one of the players interviewed said that they would ever consider trading their dad for a different coach. “I don’t think I’d be the same player I am today without his edge and his pushing me,” said Postema.
“For me, being a former football player myself and thinking one day when I’m older and have a child, I can’t wait to watch him or coach him, I’m getting to live that dream and I get to see it come to fruition,” said Coach Williams. “It’s a wonderful experience, and I hope it’s something the two of us will remember the rest of our lives.”
To see this article as it was originally published in the Grapevine Faith RAWR, click here.