I thought it might be good to address the parents of young athletes for once. As spring is in full effect, you (and a lot of other parents) might be inclined to visit your kids’ sporting events more often. Please allow me a word of advice. Even if you’re always present at your kids’ game (actually, ESPECIALLY if you are), please read on…
You don’t need a reminder that this is ‘just a game’.
Every person who ever attended a youth sporting event can tell you a story about ‘crazy parents’. Those parents who can’t help themselves but provide real-time commentary to the game at hand, about the decisions by the ref, the actions (or lack of) by the coach and above all, every step their kid takes or doesn’t take.
Ask any parent, and they will tell all about “this one time …” where another parent acted like that. ANY parent will agree wholeheartedly that parents should just be supportive and let the kids play their game. Including the ‘crazy ones’. Because that’s the problem: everyone IS being supportive, just in their own way.
Some advice? It doesn’t take much to make your kid feel great.
To police parents’ behavior, you see witty signs like:
“Your child’s success in sports does not indicate what kind of parent you are. But having an athlete that is coachable, respectful, a great teammate, tough, resilient and tries their best IS a direct reflection of your parenting.”
Some teams even have parents sign a contract before the season to not disturb games with their comments! And while it is all true and sometimes even necessary, you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who reads that and scratches their head, thinking “that’s ME!” I bet there is not a single parent reading this, thinking this applies to them. That’s okay, I’m very happy you’re still reading.
A lot of parents are involved with their children’s athletic career, which is great! You care. Good! But regardless of your method; it puts pressure on them. It does. Tim Elmore, from Growing Leaders, wrote a very interesting article on it and found the following:
Based on psychological research, the three healthiest statements moms and dads can make as their child performs are:
Before the competition: 1. Have fun. 2. Play hard. 3. I love you.
After the competition: 1. Did you have fun? 2. I’m proud of you. 3. I love you.
Do you notice the lack of criticism towards a ref, coach or player? Not even a technical or tactical suggestion. That’s the coach’s job. This, is yours.
It gets better.
Bruce E. Brown and Rob Miller did significant research in what parents can say SPECIFICALLY to produce the most positive results. Six words came out, that overwhelmingly amplified the joy during and after the game:
“I love to watch you play.”
That’s it. Those six words. Isn’t that interesting? Isn’t that liberating to you as a parent, that you can empower your child by just saying those six wonderful words?
I advice all of you to try it. Don’t put it in there with your keen observations of the game and your detailed assessment of the other team’s coach’s inability to do his job. Just these six words that hold such a powerful message.
Oh and don’t forget to sign up for our Summer Camps!
Work hard, Play smart, Have fun!