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"Playing Daddy Ball?"



Has your child been a victim of "daddy ball"? If your child has played on a team where the coach was also the dad to another kid on that team, then you probably have.

It’s unfortunate that this type of coaching takes place, but it does. It sounded so cliché to me, so I couldn’t believe it would actually happen to us.

My son, Tucker, has been a victim of "daddy ball" on just about every team he has played on so far. On some teams it was worse than others, but in every case we were not the only parents to notice it.


What is “Daddy Ball”?

“Daddy ball” is a term that has been used to describe when your child’s coach has a son or daughter on the same team, and that parent/coach gives their own child more opportunities, playing time, and usually the most popular position on the team.

Football coaching

That parent/coach would have them play quarterback, point guard or pitcher depending on the sport being played.

They do not take into consideration that there could be another player on the team that would play that position better than their own child.

Many sports have their own highly visible or popular positions, but not everyone is equipped to play those positions.

As a parent coaching your own child’s team, you should treat your child like you would treat any other kid on that same team. Being biased is only being selfish and unfair to the rest of the players.

If your kid is actually fit for the popular position, then let them play it. Just don’t be unrealistic in your decision. Try to see your own child in the most unbiased way possible.

A parent coaching his or her own child can be a rewarding experience for that parent, but it can also lead to natural favoritism. It might seem like a good idea at the time, but more thought should go into it before you try it.

You have to remember that the other parents are watching your every coaching move. They recognize the favoritism immediately, especially if they believe it is at the expense of their own child.

Not only will the other parents recognize when a coach is playing “daddy ball”, but they will discuss it further with the other parents. They will most likely not bring it up with the coach directly.


What Do You Do If Your Child is the Victim of "Daddy Ball"?

What can you really do if you notice the coach's son or daughter always playing in games while your child is sitting on the bench?

Well, this is a tough question. Once it starts, you really cannot do much at all. Once your kid is on a team where this is happening, it is really too late. Anything you try to do would probably make it worse.

There is no good way to approach a coach to explain that you think their child is getting more attention than the other kids on the team.

We tried this in the most diplomatic way possible with our kids and several different coaches. It never worked out the way we wanted.

The best way to do something is to volunteer as the coach yourself the next season. It’s like the old saying…”If you want something done right, do it yourself”.

The only other thing to do is try and have your kids join a team where the coach does not have a son or daughter on the same team. This is difficult to do especially in volunteer coach situations.

Generally the volunteer coaches do have a child on that team, hence the reason they volunteered to coach.


Should I Be A Coach for My Son or Daughter’s Team?

I hope I haven’t scared everyone away from being a coach for your child’s team. That was not my intent. I only want to explain the potential issues that can arise if you aren’t paying attention.

My husband has coached both of my sons, Tucker and Max, on several of their teams over the years. He was so worried that other parents would think he was playing favorites with our son that he would actually pull our sons out of the games more often than he probably should have.

Dad football coach

The reason I know this is because other parents told us. If parents agreed with my boys being pulled out of these games, they probably just wouldn’t say anything.

There needs to be a balance between knowing when it’s a good idea to have your own kids in the game, and knowing when they should come out.

There also should to be a balance in knowing which position your kid should play on the team and which positions the other kids should play.

Again, if your child is good at playing quarterback, it’s okay to try them out at that position. You just need to keep in mind there could be another kid on the team that plays it better.



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