Oh, parents, we are ruining youth sports.
The adults are making the players not want to play, coaches to not want to coach, and officials not want to officiate anymore. That’s sad, people.
I don’t know all the reasons. I don’t know all the justifications behind the behaviors. I just know we adults are strangling youth sports by making them into something they are not…mini professional sports.
Fixing this requires a fresh approach at the grassroots of the youth sports system. Changing parent behavior.
New year, new sports-parenting outlook.
The Three Breathe Rule.
- Breathe in. Tell yourself, “Follow my kids lead.” Breathe out.
- Breathe in. Tell yourself, “I can’t want this more than my kid does.” Breathe out.
- Breathe in. Tell yourself, “It’s a game.” Breathe out.
Repeat as needed until your focus is back on the important task at hand, being your child’s biggest fan.
The Three Breathe Rules
“Follow my kids lead.”
Pay attention to what your child is doing. If they are having a good time and enjoying the sport, let them. If they are not having a good time nor enjoying the sport, let them find one they will enjoy and have a good time playing. The future success we all dream about for our kids will only happen in a positive fashion if the kid develops the internal drive to do the work.
“I can’t want this more than my kid does.”
This is a big one. It’s not about you. Swallow your ego. Place your pride in Johnny someday winning the Super Bowl into a trunk, lock it, and bury it six feet underground. If by chance, Johnny does someday win the Super Bowl, you can dig up that trunk and display your pride for the whole world to see. Until then, don’t add the pressure of ungodly expectations upon your young athlete.
“It’s a game.”
No need for explanations here. It is what it is. A game.
These three rules helped me through years of coaching baseball and football and youth basketball. I think they can also help a parent enjoy the youth sports process while their kids enjoy participating in them. At least that’s my hope for the future. I love youth sports. From the playground to the sandlot to the driveway to the local stadiums and fields, sports are great and awesome things. Let’s not ruin them.
If you’re having trouble as a sports parent, I understand. I’ve been a bad and a good sports parent. We’ve all made mistakes. Let’s work in 2020 to make fewer sport-parent mistakes.
New year, new you. We can do this.
If you missed part one of this series, New Year, New You (Coaching Edition), you can find it here.