Tuesday, March 20, 2012

'I love watching you play?'

After three decades of informally surveying hundreds of college athletes, two former longtime coaches have become advocates for athletes and voices for youth. Both Bruce Brown and Rob Miller of Proactive Coaching LLC, have spent their last 12 years speaking to millions of athletes at colleges, high schools and youth leagues about their views on parents and sport.

When the college athletes were asked “what is your worst memory from playing youth and high school sports?”, the most popular response was: “the ride home with my parents.” The reason behind this is that young athletes are quicker in moving on from the game to everyday life, while often parents use the car ride home to analyze the game. After a young athlete has taken off his equipment he reverts back to being a kid.

On the other hand when asked what makes the young athlete feel great after a game,  the most popular response was hearing: “I love to watch you play.” This makes it clear to the athlete that their parent has taken notice of their son or daughter playing. Kids want their parents to be just that, the unconditional loving parent, leaving the sideline coaching to the coach, the calls to the officials and the game critiquing to the team.

However, it is noted that that parents aren’t making the ride home from games unbearable for their child on purpose. These aren’t the stereotypical angry parents who spends the game hollering and harassing the referees but rather the regular parent who can’t help but talk about the game on the ride home. So the important part is finding the balance when showing your child that you are involved with his or her activity.

Maybe parents should take a lesson from their parents ... “Overall, grandparents are more content than parents simply enjoy watching the child participate.” Brown explained while speaking to a high school. The grandparent is more than content watching the game and giving a hug or kiss after the game. They also support the child with “I love to watch you play” and at not criticizing play.

Signs of a overzealous parent
  • Overemphasizing sport at the expense of sportsmanship
  • Having different goals then your child
  • Treated your child differently after a loss than a win
  • Undermining the coach
  • Living your own athletic dream through the child 
 Signs of an ideal sport parent
  • Cheer on everyone on the team, not just your child
  • Model appropriate behavior
  • Know what is suitable to discuss with the coach
  • Know your role
  • Be a good listener and a great encourager 
Henson, S. (2012) What Makes a Nightmare Sports Parent - - And What Makes A Great One. Retrieved from the Internet March 19, 2012.

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