As a youth hockey coach, it’s not unusual for parents to come to me, frustrated and complaining. They’ll say things like, “We’re doing everything- extra practices, private coaching- and my son/daughter just isn’t motivated like he used to be. What’s wrong?”
to these parents is tough because answering their question typically involves
making them see some things they don’t really want to see- like the fact that
they’re working their children too hard.
too easy to lose sight of the fact that youth sports are, or at least should
be, about fun and growth. They’re not about turning out little professional
athletes. Parents like the one who spoke to me are working their kids hard,
believing it’s in the child’s best interest, when in reality, they’re causing
the very burnout and loss of passion they hope to avoid.
one of these parents who pushes too hard and expects and demands too much,
don’t beat yourself up. It stems from wanting the very best for your child, and
fortunately, it’s something you can change…by realizing what is actually best
for your child.
actually best is being supportive and encouraging but not demanding or harsh
and allowing your child to have fun with the sport, instead of treating it like
a job. Don’t force your little one into private training and coaching or
pressure him or her. If you do that, you’re going to destroy any love of the
game the child has.
can be hard to “let go” in this way and to just let your child make his or her
own decisions when it comes to sports, it’s actually a really good thing. It
will help make your child more independent and confident and can even help him
or her to love the sport more.
believe it or not, adopting this “new and improved” attitude will also help you
as a parent. I see it all the time- parents who were formerly stressed out and
worried constantly become less stressed and happier and are able to truly enjoy
the games and watching their kids play once they learn to let go.
really does benefit when parents back off and let their kids have their own
sports experiences. Remember, it’s not your child’s job to live out YOUR sports
dream; your child is his own person, and if you can realize that now, not only
will your child have a better, happier relationship with sports, but with you