.The Role of Parents At All Three Stages
Bruce Brown, who has served as Director of Pro-Active Coaching and been a special presenter in the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) “Champions of Character” initiative, provides the following advice to parents on how they support their athlete to have a great experience playing high school sports.
Before the Game
Parents should ask themselves the following questions:
• Why do I want my child to play this sport?
• What goals do I have for my child with respect to playing”
• If there are roles, what role do I want them to play?
• How will I decide if it’s a successful season?
Then ask your child essentially the same questions:
• Why are you playing?
• What goals do you have?
• What do you think you rrole will be on the team?
• What is a successful season in your mind?
Hopefully, your answers and your child’s answer will be the same. If they aren’t, Brown says, “Drop your goals and accept theirs.” This is part of the mantra that parents need to repeat to themselves: “This is your activity, not mine.”
Brown says to look for these red flags as indicators that you haven’t “released” your child to the team and the coach:
• You continue to share in the credit when things go well.
• You find yourself trying to resolve all the problems that will inevitably come up during season.
• You catch yourself yelling at an official during the game.
• You try to continue to coach your child when he or she knows more about the sport than you do.
• Your child tries to avoid you after the game or is embarrassed by your involvement.
During the Game:
Brown provides these recommendations:
• Be there as a symbol of your support.
• Model appropriate behavior.
• The one instructional voice should be that of the coach—your voice should be offering encouragement.
• Focus on the team.
• Understand which of the four roles you have for the game—you are playing the role a spectator, not the coach, the official or the player.
After the Game:
• Save your analysis. Don’t analyze their play, the officials, their teammates, the coaching, the playing conditions, etc.
• Give your athlete time and space to recover, no matter how much time they need.
• Be a confidence-builder, not a confidence cutter. Say things to your child such as: I love watching you play, I love watching you be part of a team, I love how you’re such a great encourager of your teammates.
For more information on Bruce Brown and ProActive Coaching, visit their website.
As a parent of a young athlete, you appreciate how dedicated coaching combined with a fun environment can make all the difference.