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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 28, 2010

Is coaching your own child really different?

By Jordan J. Michael

VOORHEESVILLE –– Tom Kurkjian has coached four of his own children at Voorheesville over the past 30 years in tennis, volleyball, or sometimes both.

Currently, Kurkjian is coaching his youngest, Armine, who was the number-one seed for the Lady Birds’ tennis team that finished one win short of a Class C title for the second straight season.

While playing a match or at practice, does Armine refer to her father as Dad, Coach, or both?

“There’s a lot more pressure going on,” Armine Kurkjian said. “I never want to disappoint him because he’s my father. If he wasn’t, then it wouldn’t matter, but its family, so we get more upset than usual.”

“Compared to someone I’m not related to, it’s never the same,” Tom Kurkjian said. “There are high and low points because your kids treat you differently than ones who aren’t. It’s easier to disassociate yourself.”

Kurkjian said that coaching one of your own children could be bad or good.

“Either way, we both enjoy tennis and we’re in it together,” Kurkjian said. “It’s harder and more intense to watch. I’m just glad my kids wanted to play sports.”

Kurkjian coached his son, Tom, and daughters, Jennifer and Nazely, before Armine, who is the only child of the four to be number-one in tennis.

“She’s competitive like them, but more sensitive,” Kurkjian. “It’s real hard for the two of us to take losses.”

Tennis is an individual sport, so Armine earned the number-one position by being the best player for the Birds, not because her father is the coach. “She played to have it,” Kurkjian said. 

Armine told The Enterprise that she tries not to let the family relations affect the tennis, but it’s nearly impossible not to let it interfere.

“I can’t separate it because I’m a fighter,” Armine said. “I fight for myself and I fight for him, too.”

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