Sibling Rivalry

  • November 19, 2014

Coach Responses

Quite a few times in my coaching career I’ve encountered siblings playing on the same team.

As a coach, how do you approach dealing with sibling rivalry?

Share your tips and best practices!

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Coach Sean Ferguson ChPC, RGP – Swimming – Region of Waterloo – 17 Years

“The best way is to proactively encourage skills and abilities of each “individual”; give each sibling the opportunity to shine individually. As well, in my opinion, just cause they are siblings, doesn’t mean there needs to be a rivalry; coach and mentor these athletes on how they can work together with their specific skills & abilities for the team to come to be one unit. When you give each individual an opportunity to use their own skills and abilities it allows each person to find their way (which in turn should prevent any rivalry).

*By the way, I would like to mention that there is a distinct difference between rivalry and being competitive or having friendly competition (as this can easily be confused). So this is also something you as the coach can lead your team in learning about the differences.”

Coach Briana Rodrigues – Athletics/Running – Toronto – 4 Years

“I think a good way to diffuse sibling rivalry or rivalry of any kind, is to focus on what is not common between the siblings. Invariably there will be some differentiating skill between the two, such as one being slightly faster while potentially the other one is a better team player. It’s a coach’s challenge to find something for each. Then focus on that instead of what they have in common. That can channel the energy into something more positive for each kid and maybe even get them encouraging one another instead of competing with one another.”

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