The role that parents play in the life of a athlete has a tremendous impact on their experience. With this in mind, we have taken some time to write down some helpful reminders for all of us as we approach the upcoming season.
1. Let the coaches coach: Leave the coaching to the coaches. This includes motivating, psyching your child for practice, after game critiquing, setting goals, requiring additional training, etc. You have entrusted the care of your player to these coaches and they need to be free to do their job. If a player has too many coaches, it is confusing for her and her performance usually declines.
2. Support the program: Get involved. Volunteer. Help out with fundraisers, car-pool, anything to support the program.
3. Be you child’s best fan: Support your child unconditionally. Do not withdraw love when your child performs poorly. Your child should never have to perform to win your love.
4. Support and root for all players on the team: Foster teamwork. Your child’s teammates are not the enemy. When they are playing better than your child, your child now has a wonderful opportunity to learn.
5. Do not bribe or offer incentives: Your job is not to motivate. Leave this to the coaching staff. Bribes will distract your child from properly concentrating during practice and game situations.
6. Encourage your child to talk with the coaches: If your child is having difficulties in practice or games, or can’t make a practice, etc., encourage her to speak directly to the coaches. This “responsibility taking” is a big part of becoming a big-time player. By handling the off-field tasks, your child is claiming ownership of all aspects of the game – preparation for as well as playing the game.
7. Understand and display appropriate game behavior: Remember, your child’s self esteem and game performance is at stake. Be supportive, cheer, and be appropriate. To perform to the best of her abilities, a player needs to focus on the parts of the game that she can control (her fitness, positioning, decision making, skill, aggressiveness, what the game is presenting her). If she starts focusing on what she can not control (the condition of the field, the referee, the weather, the opponent, even the outcome of the game at times), she will not play up to her ability. If she hears a lot of people telling her what to do, or yelling at the referee, it diverts her attention away from the task at hand.
8. Monitor your child’s stress level at home: Keep an eye on her to make sure that she is handling stress effectively from the various activities in her life.
9. Monitor eating and sleeping habits: Be sure your child is eating the proper foods and getting adequate rest.
10. Help your child keep her priorities straight: Help your child maintain a focus on schoolwork, relationships and the other things in life beside their sport. Also, if your child has made a commitment to a particular sport, help her fulfill her obligation to the team.
11. Reality test: If your child has come off the field when her team has lost, but she has played her best, help her to see this as a “win”. Remind her that she is to focus on “process” and not “results”. Her fun and satisfaction should be derived from “striving to win”. Conversely, she should not be as satisfied from the success that occurs despite inadequate preparation and performance.
12. Keep the sport in its proper perspective: Sports should not be larger than life for you. If your child’s performance produces strong emotions in you, suppress them. Remember your relationship will continue with your children long after their competitive days are over. Keep your goals and needs separate from your child’s experience.
13. Have fun: That is what we will be trying to do! We will try to challenge your child to reach past her “comfort level” and improve herself as a player, and thus, a person. We will attempt to do this in environments that are fun, yet challenging.