We want what's best! supporting your kids through their athletic career
January 6, 2015
I have recently been asked to deliver a workshop on sport psychology for parents and I am expecting that this blog post will compliment that workshop.
Parents fulfill three distinct roles for their children; the interpreter, the role model and the provider and when asked many parents can name at least a few things that fit into each of these catagories. You communicate beliefs and values regarding sporting acheivement, development and success, you can influence behaviour by role modelling certain behaviours in sport and you very much provide for your children is so much as you transport them to practice, you pay club fees and often play a more pivotal role within a club for example chariman, treasurer or secutary. So you invest a lot of time, energy and effort into your childs sport career so you want them to do well. Your emotions can have a serious effect on the success or failure of your child.
We've all come across them... pushy parents this negative culture can turn youth sport sour very quickly and cause chaos for the athlete and cause even more problems for the coach. This anger not only is directed at their child but can often be towards teammates, coaches, support staff and officials. So lets take a look further at the behaviours of a model parent.
There is a significant suggestion made by coache sthat there is a positive and direct correlation between parental support and the likelihood of professional success. Many gymnasts, footballers, swimmers, and athletes agree and want their parents significantly involved in their sport achievments. So not only do your children want you involved but your childrens coaches want you involved too. There is a trade off however. Becomming too involved can often leave an athlete feeling stressed, embarrassed and anxious. Too much of an emphasis on winning and not enough of partiication can cause anxiety. Here are my top tips on being a great sporting parent.
Tip 1: Be self aware - most coaches and support staff don't do any technical or tactical training on the day of a competition, there is a reason for that. Competition day is about competeing and having fun, not training. That has been done before. Athlete's don't tend to respond well to parents giving technical or tactical advice minutes before a competition. However if you are seen by your child as an expert on the sport then feel free to ask them if they want any help. If in doubt...ask?
Tip 2: Be aware of effort an attitude... not performance. Athletes get concered when they know their parents are going to be angry with a poor performance and why shouldn't you, you've put in all this time and effort and they've screwed it up. But wait! They tried their hardest and were up against some tough competition. Critising performance after competition can be extremely damaging to your child confidence and may end in an arguement. So relax, sit back, they know what went wrong and comment as much as you like on their effort and their attitude.
Tip 3: Use the silence - Saying nothing can be a really good answer. Controlling your emotioncan be the key to getting your children on side and not being a distraction at the crucial point in a competition can be the difference between their success and their failure. Being attentive allows you as parents to support without distracting or embarrasing your children. How many of your kids have told you before that you never listen... take the hint and use the silence.
Tip 4: Use praise in the right time and the right place - Praise can be a wonderful thing, how many of you are guilty of being too critical and not praising a good performance. The right peice of praise at the right time can be a golden nugget. Saying something like 'good job', 'great effort', 'well done' can seem simple but it can also be the difference between your children thinking your pleased with them or annoyed at them. You can't read theire mind and they can't read yours. If they did well tell them.
And just a few things to steer clear of:
Become over-involved. Although this may be your way of showing you care, be wary that there is a fine line between supporting your child and over involvement.
Provide inappropriate coaching advice. This may provide conflicting messages to that which they have received from the coach. If you disagree with the coach, it is better to talk it through and have a quiet discussion with them at another time, rather than potentially coming across as disrespectful.
Put too much pressure on and emphasise the importance of winning and success. No matter what standard of competition your child is, they should always be enjoying their sport. Additional pressure can take away this enjoyment and be detrimental to their performance.