At FlipGive, we love reading all kinds of stories about how Sports Parents are experiencing different aspects of their lives such as parenting, work, hobbies, relationships and more. This is the reason why we came up with "Meet a FlipGive Sport Parent", a series that will feature Sports Parents that inspire us.
Sam Menard is our VP of Growth & Acquisition at FlipGive. He responsible for reaching new future FlipGivers across the US and Canada through advertising and partnerships with other organizations. Sam's passionate about sports, technology, personal finance and travel. Growing up he played every sport imaginable, including basketball at university (Go Gaiters!). These days he’s off the court and on the ice as a Head Coach in girls rep hockey.
What sports are each of your children involved in?
My two girls are growing up very active, in a similar way to how my wife and I did. They both play hockey throughout the winter which takes up some serious time as many parents know, they also play soccer, lacrosse, and run and swim for fun, while also making time for friends.
Can you describe the balance between daily life as a sports parent vs. coaching?
The balance of parent/coach can be tough at times with your own kids, as they have to realize on the ice I’m “Coach”, but then at home I’m “Dad”. I am their biggest fan of course but am also focusing on developing every kid on the team to their potential. Sports parenting is a big time commitment, and adding the responsibility of coaching takes that to another level. I’m lucky to work somewhere that understands when I have to sprint for the train to get to a 5:00 practice because I’m responsible for the entire team, or have a tournament starting at 7:00 am on a Friday morning. You also need a supportive partner who is ok with you putting in the extra time that comes with coaching.
What are your best tactics for keeping your kids active and training during stay-at-home requirements?
Without kids being able to stay active with friends or in an organized environment, frankly there’s a lot more pressure on parents to find ways to keep kids motivated and active and it’s not easy. It’s stressful. We have a simple Kanban whiteboard (To-Do/Done) where we all write our weekly goals. Writing a goal down helps motivation, and it resonates with our kids. One of the written goals has to be around exercise or “outdoor recess”. We all enjoy running and family yoga (including with our dog).
How do you push your team to be the best they can be, in and out of season?
You want kids to fall in love with sports and with the thrill of competing. I was hyper competitive as an athlete myself, but have chilled out a lot as a parent and coach. When I coach, our team rules are to “Work Hard. Have fun. Do your Best”. Coaching kids 10 and under, I focus on fast-moving practices without standing around, to keep the kids from getting distracted. It’s important to balance learning and having fun. I also think coaches need to be really positive to encourage a love of sport in kids. That way, they pay attention and put the work in and end up grabbing their equipment and practice when no one is watching them. Highly recommend a book called The Talent Code.
What are some of your favourite resources for coaching, drills, and activities to keep kids playing during lock-down?
As a former App Store Lead at Apple, I’m all about Apps. I started learning how to meditate during this time (thanks Headspace), have kept running (Runkeeper), trying to do more yoga and stretching as a family (Peloton and Downward Dog HIIT). I also highly recommend iTrain Hockey for drills, and don’t forget about Pinterest for ideas like outdoor scavenger hunts. I grew up having to find things to do outdoors myself, but I think kids today are more motivated by technology, direction and structure.
What are your top tips to keep your kids motivated?
Be a role model. Show your kids you enjoy being active and prioritize it in your day. Try to do things together like bike rides, roller blades, long walks with your dog. Have fun together.
What do you love the most about coaching and sports parenting?
Having the opportunity to coach kids brings me a lot of joy. Sports teaches incredible life lessons, and as a parent and coach I get to play a role in helping not only my own kids, but many others through these experiences. Sports teaches skills around understanding effort and persistence, being committed to something bigger than yourself, teamwork, leadership skills, humility (teasing and being teased in the locker room), building friendships, working hard, knowing how to win and lose and most importantly, especially for kids. to have confidence in yourself.
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