Backyard Sports Timeout – Where our coaches field parents’ questions about Team Sports and offer ways to make it the Fun, Enriching Experience it’s supposed to be
Q: What does my child really need from me as a parent to better guide her as a team sports player?
A: The job of the parent is to guide their children toward long-term development and to help them make decisions. We do this academically and socially, but when it comes to sports, we don’t think about these things long-term. We make in-the-moment, gut-wrenching decisions, which don’t necessarily match up to the bigger picture we see for our child.
Parents, close your eyes and envision your child in 10 years. Picture them graduating high school. Now, compare that vision to the kind of child they are today. Are they empathetic? Do they have confidence? Do they have the experiences that will allow them to take the next step to engage in a new part of their lives? Look at your child as an athlete and know that joining a sports team will give them great experiences and confidence, but will the decisions you make now be in their best interest? Will these decisions match the values of your child 10 years from now?
One of the things for long-term character development is letting our kids fail. It’s so difficult to see our kids struggling as a parent and when it comes to situations in sports, we won’t let that happen. We try to fix things. We don’t like the position the kid’s playing, so we speak to the coach. Your son gets cut from a team, so you go form another team. When there’s trouble in the classroom, parents hire tutors. While we’re fixing things, we’re thinking that’s the right decision for our kids. The point is we’re making short-term decisions, we’re not making long-term decisions. We know what we want in the long-term for our kids: We want them to be good people with the necessary competencies to live independently and contribute to society. But sometimes, the way we treat our young athletes gets in the way of that.
The Big Takeaway: Your child needs you to stop stepping in so much and stop trying to fix every little problem. Let her figure it out for herself. You need to be the rudder, not the wind.
Backyard Sports provides weekend and after school sports instruction and game play for boys and girls ages 4-16 years old. Our programs are designed for EVERY child who desires a positive and healthy sports experience. #CompetitiveSportsDoneRight