“Why in the world would I want my child to quit playing their sport?”
“It is ludicrous to even suggest a strategy that would push my child out of a sport to which they have devoted so much time and effort, isn’t it?”
Yes, it is a crazy notion that any parent would knowingly try to force their child out of a sport… KNOWINGLY, that is!
Consider this a cautionary tale of a trap that many parents fall into and not step-by-step destruction instructions.
No parent secretly desires to negatively impact their young athlete or hurt their self-esteem or self-confidence. On the contrary… parents have the best intentions for their kids. Parents want their kids to succeed in athletics and, therefore, buy them the best equipment they can afford, taxi them to and from practice, urge them to try out for more competitive teams and train with more competitive athletes, sign them up for private lessons, hire strength and conditioning coaches, seek dietary advice from nutritionists, urge them to practice extra in the backyard, give them your expert opinion during car rides, watch endless YouTube videos on the finer points of competing, send them to clinics and pay huge sums of money to give your kids every advantage.
While these sacrifices and vast support are commendable, they may do more harm than good. This is a tough pill for many parents to swallow. It seems counter-intuitive, especially when we hear many stories of professional baseball players whose fathers made them take 200 swings in the batting cages from the age of 8… or the Olympic downhill medalist who started skiing at the age of four… or the collegiate national champion wrestler who trained up a weight class from an early age.
NEWS FLASH… These athletes may not have succeeded because of that parental push. These athletes succeeded despite the added pressure from their parents. It is inspiring to hear the success stories of athletes who were pushed from an early age. Since you want your child to experience success, it seems like a great road map to follow.
Unfortunately, you don’t hear the countless stories of athletes who suffered due to parental pressure… You don’t hear the story of the kid that quit soccer at the age of 14 because of excessive criticism… You don’t hear the story of the girl who felt she would never live up to the expectations of her parents because she didn’t make the starting lineup… You don’t hear the story of the boy who cried after each game because he felt his dad wasn’t proud of him.
The purpose of this article is not to make a parent feel bad about their actions. It is amazing the sacrifices you make for your child and, for that, you should be commended. Your intentions and caring should be applauded.
The question then is… WHAT IS THE BEST METHOD TO FOSTER SUCCESS IN MY YOUNG ATHLETE?
Try these 3 strategies designed to help your young athlete succeed in sports:
Be a cheerleader, not a fear-leader. Encourage your kid’s efforts, instead of making them afraid of making a mistake during a competition.
Celebrate successes rather than pointing out mistakes. Highlighting successes will help build confidence in your child and let them know you notice their progress.
Place the onus on your child. Ask your child to identify the things they do well, what they need to do to accomplish THEIR goals (not YOUR GOALS) and how you can help them achieve their objectives.
After all, why wouldn’t you want your child to succeed?