Theoretically, research has proven that the kind of relationship that an athlete shares with her parents is a huge factor in determining her youth sports career’s future. Practically, ask a coach or maybe just look around.
Youth sports is not just a recreation or fun activity anymore. There’s serious competition, school and peer pressure and college scholarship at stake. Naturally, given the perks, parents tend to get highly involved in their child’s sporting course, wherein persuasion often crosses the line as pushing and advise as interference resulting in more of a chaos than career.
It’s not always negative. Parents involvement has also, in many cases, shown a positive headway in the child’s sporting career. These are the parents who have given full support to their kids but also have taken a back seat when it’s called for. And you can almost always tell the difference, body language of the child can show how enthusiastic or disillusioned the kid is at the game. You can also see it at every game; some parents are at the stands yelling while some are cheering, and you will know the difference.
Here are a few tips to help you become the positive force, constructive influencer and encouraging parent to help achieve success in your kid’s sporting career.
- Let the first takeaway from youth sports always be fun. Although it is just natural to get competitive and victory obsessed, but you need to utilize your super-parent power into refraining from sliding towards the rat race. You can practically do that by:
- Not showing your disappointment when the kid loses.
- Not indulging in after-game analysis, unless the kid initiates.
- Not harassing the kid with ‘lessons-learnt’ lecture, or ‘focus’ lecture.
- Instead of saying ‘win it’ every time your kid goes out to the field, say ‘enjoy’ or ‘have fun out there’
- Parents often end up putting imperceptible pressure on their children by trying to live out their dreams thorough them. They get more emotionally involved than being logically involved in their kids’ game. Then there is also the pressure of value-for-money since working parents spend hard-earned money on expensive coaching and on maintaining a sports lifestyle. Children, most often than not, realize these things. What parents do not realize is that kids already have a lot of pressure that put on themselves. Added pressure may just result in to breakdown.
- Never tell your child how much money you are spending on her sporting course and she has the onus of getting the value for that money. But at the same time do not get very flamboyant while spending on her sports lifestyle, she should not presume it’s easy on you and start taking things for granted.
- Do not keep giving instances from your own life telling your child what to do and what not to do. You do not want the kid judging you. Use examples of sports personalities, famous coaches or someone not personally known, if you have to.
- For some kids, the presence of their parents makes them confident, for some it can add to their anxiety. Know your child and what works for them. Be there and cheer if the kid wants you to, but be a silent spectator if your presence makes the child nervous.
- Let players be players and coaches be coaches. Do not play the game from the stands or try and coach by constantly giving instructions in the middle of the game. It can be really frustrating for the kid playing and can also be annoying for other parents and for the coach.
- Allow the kid to take a break from the sport. Kids can get over worked with sports or there can be a temporary frustration on missing a social event. A break can help destress and bring back perspective which is very essential once in a while.