The Head Coach’s Son; Favoritism in Youth Football / Sports #1 Popular Parent Topic

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Bear @ QB

I am sure many will argue that there is favoritism in youth football. I will agree too. After 30 seasons coaching youth football and other youth sports, there is a ton of favoritism. Daddy ball is alive and well, and in my analysis is why many youth football teams lose in our youth football league. (2020 Update) Find out how to become the coach’s favorite in this podcast.

Ok, so this may not be the most popular article for parents, but someone needs to put the theory out there, and yes I say theory, about the Head Coach’s son and children.  I am a Head Coach, and both my son’s play Quarterback for their youth football teams.  I was an offensive guard at their ages, so I am slightly jealous.  But anyway, I am Head Coach for my oldest son’s team (5th grade) and am a parent spectator for my youngest (2nd grade) son’s team.  My theory is that the children of head coaches have a biological and environmental advantage over the other players on the team.  So let me explain…

For the last two years, as a Head Coach, I have struggled with my oldest son playing starting quarterback on my tackle football team.  When Berndt, “Bear”,  was younger, on his flag teams, he was the back-up quarterback and starting center for our spread offense.  Bear played Center in flag, because we had a QB prodigy on our flag team. 

Two years ago, when I was given the opportunity to coach Bear’s tackle team, I assigned the position responsibilities to my Offensive Coordinator.  Our first year, we went through try outs and the Offensive Coordinator chose my son as the starting QB.  I was not happy with this decision because of the parent political issues this was going to cause.

Zane Flag

And for two years, Bear playing QB always comes up as favoritism.  But is it really?  My Offensive Coordinator assigns the backfield positions, not me.  I work with the offensive line.  In our first year, I actually argued against my oldest son playing quarterback, because I thought he wasn’t assertive & competitive enough as a leader.  I am now a believer that Bear is a “real” QB, but only until the last few games of least season.  It’s taken me four years to believe he should be the starting Quarterback; 2 flag & 2 tackle. 

Now, my youngest son, Zane, was the starting QB on his flag team, even after missing two weeks with a broken collarbone.  Zane is much more like me as a leader and a natural athlete.  He’s fun to watch.  Is it surprising to me that another coaching staff has chosen my son as a quarterback?  Yes, but that’s only because I never played QB.  How can this be?  Two son’s starting skill players? 

Since I have been struggling with my own internal favoritism issues, I postulated this theory.  Head Coach’s sons have an advantage over other pee wee football players, because their biological father and dad is the Head Coach.  It’s a biological and environmental advantage. Maybe or maybe not?

One could say, the children of Head Coaches are exposed to the sport at a very early age.  My boys had footballs in their cribs, and we watch NFL football games together as a family.  We live and breathe football in the Parker home. I know a baseball head coach that is the same way about baseball.   I have been practicing football with my boys since they were 3.  They watch me draw up plays, read football books, watch football instructional DVDs and we practice football skills at least once or twice a week during the off-season. 

So is it favoritism that Head Coaches’ children are starters in key positions on youth sports team.  I would say no.  OK, so there are a few that show favoritism, but coaches’ children are predisposed, biologically and environmentally, to have an advantage over the other players. 

Let me know what you think about my theory.  Thanks and have a good season.

Favoritism in Youth Football Article Updated 2020

As a 2020 update to this original 2008 post on favoritism in youth football and youth sports, I was surprised to find over the last 12 years this is the most commented on blog post at CoachParker.org. I had no idea that this article would spark such fury on the internet. It does attract many soccer parents who want to hang me and call me an idiot. Always much appreciated.

Both of my sons have graduated high school and are in college now. Both played football through their Sophomore year. They were starting QBs, RBs and WRs on offense and both played OLBs on Defense through Jr High and HS. My oldest son Bear also Lettered in Cross Country and went to the State tourney with his CC team. My youngest son never really hit a growth spurt so he decided to work instead. He was a great youth football player as was his older brother. I loved coaching them both.

I continued to coach youth football even after my sons were too old to play for me and my teams. I never played favorites with my sons and I never did with our recruited drafted players. I judge everyone equally and tough on all. Just ask my two boys.

favoritism in youth football and youth sports
Favoritism in Youth Football

I hope you enjoyed this favoritism in youth football article. Please leave a comment below and like and or share the article.

You can also contact me if you have any suggestions, comments, questions, about coaching youth football.

Remember to Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!

Coach Parker
Fort Worth, Texas / Keller TX

update 4/13/2020 – 2020 Gutenbergz

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75 Comments

  1. Your child may be the best player on the team, but you’re delusional if you believe your offensive coordinator is unbiased when evaluating your child versus another’s for a position on the team.

    1. I find it interesting that people who do not even know me are able to diagnose my mental state from a blog post. Look I really did not want either son to play QB. And actually I argued with my offensive coordinator about my oldest son playing QB. Maybe your reading more into the post about your own personal experiences. But please do not call me delusional. I would appreciate it.

  2. why argue with this meathead? he is what is wring with all youth sports. He overvalues his own children, and does nothing to develop kids who could become good football players. Instead these kids quit. But his awesome sons get to play QB and take away from others enjoyment of football. I think coach parker should quit next season, and see how much time his kids get.

    1. Thank you for your comments. I have almost zero players quit my fb teams in over 20 plus youth football seasons. My teams are some of the best coached teams within the league. My oldest son is in college now and my youngest plays JV football as a starting SS. My oldest played through his freshman year as a backup qb and starting lb while also running cross country which lettered in and went to state as a runner. I stll coach youth football even though I do not have a son playing. I started out coaching before my two sons played. I also have written two youth football coaching books. You might want to read more than one blog post. Thanks again for your respectful comment.

  3. my son plays fifith grade and am going threw the same thing hes a very talent run back but doesn’t get the chance to play as he should do to favortism his dad is in 2 in charge over the park hes plays for so his son always get to run the ball over my son and am sick and tired of it what do i is there anyone to report to.

    1. He played football at QB through his Freshman year while at the same time running cross country from 7th grade until his Sr year. Now that is what I call tough. Running five miles at CC and also practicing football during same season here in TX. Wow. He went to State in Cross Country his Sr year. Not a bad athlete really. Proud of him. He was one of my best youth QBs out of about 10 that I have coached over 20 plus football seasons. Maybe my best pure passer and smartest. Ran the Spin Offense great and was a great inside Wedge runner and Beast Tank Power Runner. He could have been meaner on Defense. His younger brother was a much better Defender and was in 6 Super Bowls as a youth player. Not too bad either. Younger brothers seem to be tougher and meaner from my experience. Thanks for your comments. I wish one of them was a Patriot or Cowboy. I hope you and yours are well.

  4. Totally agree! Coaches kids are in it well before other kids and this does give them an advantage. Not to knock down non-coach parents, but coaches kids are exposed early to the sport. But, it’s not only coaches kids that can have this advantage, it’s parent who invest their time as well. My husband was born to coach, but does not coach. Not many parents will give up time to take their kids to a field to swing a bat, throw a football, etc, but he does. And when I say time, I am not talking about an hour every so often. Our son is not a coaches kid, but our family has invested many many weekends of driving from one field to another to find one empty so my husband could work with him. If he was hitting, me and the girls were in the outfield shagging. If he has doing reps on 3rd, my husband was hitting to him and our older son was on 1st so baseball son could make the plays. Didn’t matter the temperature either. Over and over, weekend after weekend. He’s a great player partly because he has played since age 4, but mostly because the exposure to the game is constant in our family. We’ve done this with all our kids sports, volleyball – we rented gym time on our own and the serving, digging, and hitting was endless; tennis – we all got rackets and went to the court; football – mom can throw a spiral like none other, enough said, lol, even dance – we built a dance floor in the basement complete with ballet barre and mirrors. We invest in our kids like, well, like we are coaches and it certainly shows.

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