Fathers Day Blog: Signs that your Sports Coach is also a great father figure

Jun 18, 2023
coach father figure

A Father's Role in Coaching Young Athletes

It’s Fathers Day and what a great time to talk about the important role a Dad plays in an athletes life. There are many different circumstances that athletes experience with their Dad’s relating to their sports journeys. Maybe you’ve had your dad as your coach, or maybe you haven’t had a Dad in your life at all.

Sports Coaches as Father Figures

I was an athlete who grew up without a Dad in my life and latched on to my male coaches and friends Dads as my examples of male role models. I grew up with many male coaches, most who had a positive impact on my athletic and personal development, and just one coach who had a negative impact on my development.

Male Coaches as Healthy Role Models

I am so grateful to have had the father figure coaches in my life who saw my potential, treated me as if I was their own daughter and supported me so much. The first coach who positively impacted me was my 7th and 8th grade basketball coach, David Bonilla. He molded me into a strong and resilient basketball player and was my first introduction to what a healthy male role model should be.

The second and most influential Coach I had was my volleyball coach my freshmen year of high school, Mike Sacco. I met Mike when I was 15 yrs old, and he mentored me in my volleyball career and also had a tremendous impact on who I am today. I am sure he impacted generations of young female athletes the same way. Male coaches can be an asset to society in ways we do not often count. 

How Coaches Often Go The Extra Mile

My coach Mike would always have coffee together with us, give us time to open up about our dreams and ambitions. I remember discussing my dreams of getting a college scholarship and playing professionally. He would give me self development books to read and encouraged me to start my own mindfulness journey. Mike is a lifelong meditator and triathlete. I always looked up to him for his calm demeanor, amazing listening skills, wisdom, spiritual practice and insane grit. 

So thank you Coach Bonilla for being such an amazing coach and man, and thank you Mike for being such an amazing role model, Coach and the Dad I never had. 🙏🏼

Dads and coaches have such an impact on an athletes athletic and personal development. Great coaches can leave you a better athlete and human and terrible coaches can leave you bitter and scarred.


Signs of Unhealthy Coach/Athlete Dynamic

Here are some red flags of an Unhealthy Coach/athlete dynamic:

 🚩Using your performance to shame you

🚩Emotional abuse or manipulation (gaslighting)

🚩Making inappropriate sexual comments or advances 

🚩 Creating an unhealthy power dynamic 

🚩Yelling, screaming, or using demeaning punishments to gain power and control  


Signs of a Mindful Coach

Positive aspects of having a healthy role model for athletes:

 ☑️Having a model for how to handle failure 

☑️Showing you what support looks like on and off the court 

☑️Teaching you how to self motivate 

☑️Helping you to grow and overcome adversity 

☑️Instilling values that encourage being a good teammate, while teaching you how to lose well and win well 

☑️ Showing how lessons you learn in sport impact your personal development 


If you have had an awesome Coach or Dad in your life who has guided you through your sport and helped you develop into a better human, make sure you send a thank you text to them at the very least. 

Thanks to all the great Dads and coaches out there who help athletes to grow into strong, capable, resilient, badass athletes and people 🙏🏽💪🏽


Be well, Stay mindful 🌿