As a parent of a competitive child athlete, the challenge will always be to curb the criticism. There will always be those inevitable moments of disappointment, frustration, and recognizing what your child could have done better.
With over 27 years of coaching experience, I can confidently guarantee one thing: Parents generally critique more than they support. There is no better way to guarantee a decline in your child’s athletic progress, than through the crushing weight of mounting critiques.
There are not many parents who would intend to crush their child’s joy for athletic competition. Most times it is the well-intentioned, impassioned, loving parent who truly believes that they are encouraging and helping their child, but in this case it’s only hurting them.
As a parent, you are not in the game, it is not your win or loss, it is not your challenge or accomplishment, you are not the athlete and most importantly, you are not their coach.
Children need mom and dad’s arms to run into after a rough day, without any judgment or analysis of their performance. They also need hugs of celebration after a good day, without being told what they could’ve done better.
Parents, your job is to find a great athletic program with a coach you trust and allow them to teach your child. Trust the coach to coach. You are allowed to advocate, encourage, give hugs and kisses, cheer loudly but please, please, please, do not critique your child’s performance.
Our instinct as parents is to instruct, correct behavior, and guide our children, so establishing these new boundaries requires a specific mindset, shifting our behavior, language, and emotions. This is a conscious path and requires self-awareness coupled with daily practice and encouragement from like-minded parents.
I’ve decided to add a coaching package to my programs, solely focused on helping parents to make this shift and develop tools that will ultimately help kids to feel loved, supported, encouraged and realize their unique potential as young athletes.