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Filer, Burke talk about the challenges of coaching their daughters

Published October 18. 2017 11:46AM

The statistics prove that this is not a phenomenon. Ninety percent of youth and high school coaches in America are parents and 85 percent of them have at one time or another coached their own sons or daughters.

Although this experience may be very common, each relationship between a parent – coach and his or her player – child is unique.

Panther Valley volleyball coach Nancy Filer has coached her daughter, Rachelle, now a junior at with the Panthers, for the past seven years.

“I coach my team as if all the girls are my daughters,” she said, “but I know that I can count on Rachelle to always give me her best effort. I know how much she can handle.”

Filer admits that she may treat her daughter differently at times.

“I suppose I growl at her more than I do the other girls, but I know she’s tough and she understands what I’m up against as her coach who is also her mother,”

Filer admitted that she makes sure she shows no favoritism toward her daughter and tries to give equal playing time to all her players.

Rachelle likes having her mother as her coach.

“When I’m struggling with my game, Mom helps me out,” she said. “She might be tougher on me, but I’m good with it.”

Palmerton filed hockey coach, Taryn Burke began coaching Sayler in soccer when her daughter was eight years old when her husband also coached her in ice hockey.

“I feel extremely lucky to be able to coach Sayler,” said Burke. “I must say she’s the most coachable athlete I’ve ever had.”

“And,” she added, “Sayler helps me be a better coach.”

Burke said that there is never any mother – daughter animosity on the field, mainly because Sayler is such a hard worker and one of the best players on the team.

“I try not to put coach and parent pressure on her by singling her out, but maybe I do at times.”

Sayler, a junior at Palmerton, also likes having her mother as her coach and claims she feels no extra pressure to perform better just because she’s her daughter.

“I also like to help Mom out with our practices,” said Sayler. “Sometimes I’m like an assistant coach when we run our drills.”

Of course there are unique challenges when both coach and player get into the same car and drive home to the same house after a game.

“Sometimes Rachelle will start to talk about the volleyball game in the car and I’ll say, “I’m your mom now, not your coach,” said PV coach Filer. “I want Rachelle to have fun playing the game and not to obsess over what went wrong so I tell her to leave the game in the gym where it belongs.”

Filer explains that her daughter has a lot on her plate with volleyball and her schoolwork as she is ranked number one in her academic class.

“I know I have little time for other things and we do argue sometimes like every mother and daughter,” said Rachelle. “I know I try my best and everything will work out. Mom usually doesn’t tell me much about how I can get better at the game so sometimes I will ask her.”

“I’m very respectful of the way Sayler plays field hockey,” said coach Burke. “I might think she should do more individual play, but she’s unselfish to a fault.”

“My mother will talk about the game on the way home,” said Sayler. “Just the other day we lost to Lehighton and she started to talk about why we lost and I just said, ‘Mom, the game’s over’ and then we didn’t talk about it anymore.”

Asked what advice they would offer to parents who are just beginning to coach their children in sports, both Filer and Burke spoke from lessons learned.

“Coach all your players like their you kids,” said Filer. “Count on each other and play like a family and most important, leave the game behind. When you get home, enjoy watching TV together and doing other non sports activities.”

“You need to be able to talk to your son or daughter about it, but leave the game on the field,” said Burke. “My daughter plays year round so my main concern is that she continues to enjoy the game.”

Perhaps the best advice about having a positive parent/coach and child experience came from Sayler Burke when she spoke about her mother.

“She just let’s me be.”

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