I don't understand parents who feel the need to be on their children's hip in youth sports. Joining a sport is supposed to teach independence, discipline and self reliance but how is a child suppose to learn these lessons when their parents are right there besides them at every turn. I see this way to often as a coach of various sports and as a father with a son in sports. The parents are on the floor next to the mat during wrestling tournaments yelling instructions at their kids or yelling for them to “Get up!!”. They walk onto the field during practices to ridicule or berate their children , they coach from the sides or contradict coaches lessons and techniques or worse, and my most hated, they volunteer to coach their kids teams for the sole purpose of allowing them access to give personal attention to and/or give more playing time to their child, even at the expense of the overall team. For some reason, they are forgetting that their children can not take them out onto the field, the mat, the ice, and so on. Their children not only need to learn their sport, they must learn to trust in their teachings and trust in themselves. Parents need to sit down and let their kids learn and have fun without constant pressure from them.
I love to Coach I have been coaching Football and sometimes Baseball for many years before my children were born. I do volunteer to coach my kids teams whenever I have the time, however, I do not put my child before the rest of the team when I do. That isn't fair to the team I am coaching. As I tell my son, when the whistle comes on, I am not only a coach to you, but the rest of your team as well.
I can understand the argument of parents wanting their kids to do their best and to show support for their children but showing support is very different than coddling or pressuring your child. At times, I have had to tell certain father's who were suppose to be assistant coaches to leave, or to stop interrupting my lessons. I’ve had to tell them that sooner or later, their child was going to have to rely on himself and his knowledge without looking for his father for constant assistance.
Most often in these cases I see a parent living vicariously through their children. Demanding they reach the level, they themselves could never reach or who are attempting to relive their “glory days” through their children. This isn't right. Matter of fact, it's pretty pathetic.
Participating in an organized sport comes with many pressures on its own. A child should not have the added pressure of having to win the acceptance of their parents. I sometimes see it in the faces of the children after losing a match when their parent is yelling at them from the sidelines or on the floor right besides the wrestling mats. I see the tears they shed when they are practicing injured or sick because “my dad will call me a baby if I don't practice.” or when they are emotionally destroyed because their parent put so much pressure on them to win. That's bullshit and I've gotten in very intense confrontations with parents because of this. Winning is nice, don’t get me wrong but there is a process that goes into winning and sometimes, losing is part of this process and anybody who has ever played a sport or who has ever spent the time to be a coach should understand this.
Good coaches understand that their jobs are more than just teaching the fundamentals of their designated sports.
They have the job to teach lessons that their students will hopefully use for the rest of their lives. Most coaches take this responsibility seriously. They spend a great deal of time making sure they not only relay the lessons of the game but are able to teach it in a way their students can understand. It is a tedious job and once a coach finds a formula that works, they incorporate it into a system and when a parent interferes with this system, it not only erases any progress they make with their students, it also pisses them off something fierce.
In closing, I have always and will always encourage youths to participate in sports. The lessons that a child can learn from them are beyond a doubt, life changing. I will also always encourage parents to be a part of their children's experience but do not be one of those parents who puts unnecessary or added pressure on your child to succeed. Do not put the pressure of needing to win to gain acceptance on your child. Do not put the pressure of making your child accomplish the successes you could not. You've had your time in competition. You've had your “Glory Days”. Understand that your child is not you. Your child may not reach the levels you want them to reach but that's okay. It's the lessons that are important.
Support them, cheer for them and comfort them when they fail. Show them the rewards of hard work but also teach them the value of losing. Show them that you are their biggest fans no matter the outcome of their activity. Trust that the coaches not only know what they are doing but also that there is purpose for the lessons they are teaching. Remember that they are not only volunteering their time and efforts, both of which most adults do not attempt to do but they are also giving countless of hours of preparations, planning and frustrations. When you enter your child into an organized sport or activity, trust in your coaches and let them do their jobs and for the love of the Creator, Sit the fuck down, stop embarrassing your child and making an ass out of yourself .
Let your child know that you are their fans and that you are there for their best interest not your own. Help them and practice with them and be proud of their improvements but most importantly, remember that you had your time; your successes and your failures. Let them have theirs.
Don't be afraid.... That ringing you hear in your ears is just a bit of ...
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