I often write, as many others, about how youth sports are a great venue for adults teaching life lessons to kids. However, it works the other way, too, with kids coaching parents, as I tried to get across in this illustration from my book, Raising an Athlete – How to Instill Confidence, Build Skills and Inspire a Love of Sport.

I always thought it ironic how parents feel so bad after a tough loss, only to notice players not feeling bad, or getting over it so much quicker than the parents do. This illustration makes the point of, “Who are the teachers, and who is learning from whom?” and the reality that it is the kids coaching parents and not the other way around. Of course, that is only if the parents are paying attention, of course.

Most kids begin youth sports with good perspective and as very resilient players, with that good perspective only changed when adults, coaches and parents, insist the game and winning should be more important to the young athletes.

The further point of the illustration is just that, often, adults determine youth sport behavior. When adults treat sport as if it is more important than it really is, as with winning and losing kids learn the message that winning is everything and that they should feel terrible after losing. Thus, the beginning of the pressure to win comes to kids and the expectation that losing should make them feel bad.

It is best when parents deliver the message of keeping sport in perspective and not kids coaching parents.

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