Friday, October 4, 2013
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Now that I have your attention, I must qualify that it is not the child's fault that he is terrible at (enter sport). It has everything to do with you.
I have been coaching an 11 U select baseball team for about 4 months now and I am finding some disturbing trends among parents and their relationships with their children. I have found that (a) parents exponentially over value the talent of their child, (b) cannot separate the emotions they feel during the game with that of their child's, (c) find it necessary to inject their opinions and/or suggestions for the team because they pay money to be part of the organization, (d) severely hinder and stunt their child's progress and passion for the sport they play.
Here are my suggestions and solutions to what I've described above, and in the end, I will explain to why these are necessary in order for your child to love to play the sport he or she is involved in and hopefully they won't hate you by the time they are 16 years of age.
1. Your child will only go as far as they love what they do
This not only applies to sports but life in general. Support what they love and are interested in, not what you think they should be involved in. You had a childhood now let your kid have theirs.
2. You weren't that good of a player (i.e. high school sports)
Most parents have an idea that they excelled in the sport they competed in high school. However, hindsight is 20/20. In the grand scheme of things you really weren't that great so stop telling your kid you were. They don't need to live up to your lies
3. Leave your child alone during competition
Your child is out on the field competing and does not need any added pressure from you telling them what they should or should not do. Save it for after the game, and if it is not constructive, keep it to yourself. Your insights on their play are usually driven by emotion and passion and typically come off as confrontational. They have enough pressure as it is, they don't need more from you.
4. Let the coaches coach
Did you sign up to coach? Did you volunteer your time away from your family to help others? If not, you don't have a say. Yes, you may have coached Rec league or "daddy ball" but in no way does that qualify you to give me any suggestions as far as lineup, playing time, and direction of team. If you don't like it, leave. You don't have to stay and have every right to go somewhere else. If that's how you feel, then I'd rather you leave than be a distraction to our team. (And typically this element comes from parents whose child is the least talented)
5. Let your child enjoy the process
Sports are a never ending process of learning, whether it be social or fundamental. There's an inherent value to the social and fundamental construct of sports. These early years of athletics can be unbelievably valuable for your child's social abilities in the future.
People often ask what my parents' role was in my climb to professional baseball. I tell those people that my parents were supportive of my love of baseball and gave me every opportunity to succeed. My father was a football coach and knew nothing of baseball and my mother did not play sports in high school. Whether I played a great game or terrible game, my parents always treated me with support and love. They never "pushed" me in any way and anything that I accomplished was because of my own desires and their support. They had complete trust in my coaches and I was very lucky to have great ones along the way. So, when you look at your child and you see a major league baseball player or professional football player, understand that they may think of themselves as something very very different. It's not about you, and if it is, it's probably the reason your kid sucks. Parents: don't be the reason for your kid's failures, they're under enough pressure already