Sports Parents Guide – Don’t Worry, you can still be a positive parent
This sports parents guide suggests you can still be a positive coach and parent and teach life lessons along the way.
It seems as though positive parenting and positive coaching get a bad rap these days. People assume it means nothing but praising kids and attempting to build up their self-esteem all the time.
That is not what it means, at least to me. Positive parenting and positive coaching are about helping kids learn to look at life in a healthy way and to help them mature into productive adults. Yes, positive means an upbeat, optimistic attitude, but that doesn’t mean honesty is not necessary.
Nothing shouts out negativity more than insincerity. Much of that insincerity begins with allowing or even agreeing with a young ballplayer when they have an opinion that lets them off the hook. Part of being a positive coach and parents means teaching accountability.
At one time or another, most sports parents have heard one or more of the following statements and it is important that adults do not let them pass without teaching important life lessons. Once a parent lets a few things go by without correcting a kid, they will reach further until they never accept responsibility for any outcome. This is critical in this age of the helicopter parent, those who feel like they have to manage every inch of the player’s career. Parents who believe their child can do no wrong or should not deal with minor issues on their own are not helping kids in the long run.
Following is a sports parents guide for some common athlete statements that adults should not let pass without setting kids straight.
Critical Sports Parents Guide
- “I didn’t have time to practice” The positive sports parents’ response could be something like: “OK, but do not get so upset when you do not play well in your game. You cannot expect to do well if you don’t put much into it. If you are satisfied with your playing time and game results then don’t practice. If not, find the time. By the way, you found the time to play video games for two hours every day.”
- “The coach sucks” – Maybe you agree the coach is less than to be desired, but kids should not be allowed to disparage adults and especially when most are volunteering their time. Explain to kids that the coach is giving his time and has good intentions, even though it may not appear to be that way. Further, tell them that they will have to deal with many authority figures in their future and it is a learning experience. Express the importance of showing respect to everyone, even when you may not like what they do for you.
- “The umpire screwed me” – Excuses and blaming others should be discouraged at every gripe. Rationalize that the officials are not perfect. They must learn to stay focused on their jobs and shake things off without complaining. Tell them once they get a reputation for whining, it is hard to shake.
- “I’m not going to practice or I don’t want to play anymore” – Describe what commitment is all about and the responsibility to not let their teammates down during the season. Tell them of the sacrifice they must be willing to give and that they owe it to themselves and others to do their best and give their all. Tell them you are willing to discuss not playing the following season at the appropriate time.
- “I’m no good” or “I suck” – Most parents will hear this one at some point and often kids are just looking for a little reassurance. It’s actually a good thing because it shows they care about how they do. Do not go overboard with praise but remain encouraging. Those feelings usually disappear pretty quickly. Ask them if there is something you can do to help them or maybe see if they want to get some outside the team coach help. Make clear to kids that what’s important is their effort and not the results. Remind them that not everyone can be a star and you do not expect that from them, only that they give their best.
- “Shut Up” – This one gets a little tricky because young athletes are probably right. Mom and dad have to learn to be quiet when it is apparent their child does not want their help. However, parents should explain those words “Shut up” are not appropriate and that they must learn to politely ask adults if they would remain silent because they cannot concentrate with so much chatter.
Please share any additional comments you don’t like to hear.
Jack Perconte has dedicated his post-major league baseball career to helping youth. He has taught baseball and softball for the past 28 years. His playing, coaching and parenting stories create better experiences for athletes and parents. Jack has written over a thousand articles on coaching baseball and youth sports. Jack is the author of “The Making of a Hitter” and “Raising an Athlete.” His third book “Creating a Season to Remember” is now available. Jack is a featured writer for Baseball the Magazine. You can also find Jack Perconte on YouTube with over 120 fun and innovative baseball instructional videos.