Like most of you, I am a parent that wants nothing but success for my kids when it comes to athletics. Have I always done a great job of letting them be their best? Absolutely not!
As our children approach the field/court, they will either be excited to play or afraid of messing up. Both feelings are strongly influenced by us.
Here are ten ways to help make your son/daughter more successful at their sport (top ten list credit to “Z Winning Mindset“).
1. Verbally & Nonverbally communicate you believe in them. Great parents believe in their kids and communicate it regularly.
2. Verbally & Nonverbally communicate that you accept them, love them, & are proud of them NO MATTER WHAT. Reinforce winning, perfection, & success are much lower on your priority list than their fun, happiness, & enjoyment- you might be surprised how much more success this brings with it.
3. Praise their performance, not their outcome. You want to compliment a kid for positive qualities like playing hard, taking chances, staying positive, maintaining composure, never quitting, etc. The player mastering these qualities will eventually be the one who succeeds. Complementing them too much for winning teaches them that winning is all that matters, and by default, losing disappoints you.
4. Ask your kid permission before giving your opinion/criticism. Ie. Would you mind my opinion? (This gives the kid a sense of power during a sensitive interaction).
5. Don’t always talk about their sport too much at home. Let your kid bring it up first most of the time. Let your home be a place of peace, positivity, & mental recovery.
6. Be positive & supportive. 9 out of 10 times, this is what your kid would like.
7. If you read the forums, newspapers, rankings, box scores, DON’T talk about it with your kid.
8. Know your role. Players play. Coaches coach. Umpires umpire. Parents parent. And there should be very little, if any, overlap between them.
9. Don’t make games/tournament days special. Your kids can sense this & it usually leads to them doing the same thing. You want them treating everything the same, so should you.
10. When in doubt- LAY OFF! This is tough to do, but it is often the right thing to do, especially when you know your kid is already serious about the sport.
Most people, no matter how old they are, want to make their parents proud. People are keenly aware of their parent’s judgments and opinions of their parents more than anyone else. Even the highest level players are sensitive to the verbal and non-verbal praise and critique of their parents. Know this- you have the power to help them or hurt them more than anyone else in the world.
“Parents, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4