Divided loyalties hinder people. Sharing your disapproval of a coach with your children puts them in a bind. Conversely, when parents support a coach, it is easier for children to put forth maximum effort. If you think your child's coach is mishandling a situation, do not tell your child. Ask for a meeting with the coach.
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Silence after a game is OK After a game, remember that silence is OK. Your children will open up to you when the time is right (even if it takes a little longer than you might expect). Give them that time.
Watch Olympians John and Ben Peterson discuss how as parents to give encouragement.
Avoid yelling verbs. When you're watching a competition you should enthusiastically support all the players. Cheer their effort and successes, but if you are yelling verbs like "run, throw, kick, pass," you are coaching.
Consider yelling positive, tank-filling comments for your athlete and her team. Watch the video
Maintain a "Magic Ratio" of five truthful, specific praises for every one specific, constructive criticism. If you do, you fill find out why it's called that, because children will be able to do things you wouldn't have thought possible.
Even collegiate coaches like Ruger's Greg Schiano works on filling athletes emotional tanks. Watch the video
To excel, your children must love the game enough to work at it. Pressuring them to excel can sap that love. You can nurture this love of playing by noticing and recognizing them for specific things they're doing well.
Ken Martel, Director of the American Development Model for USA Hockey, talks about how to prevent burnout and preserve the passion for the sport. Watch the video
Let your kids know that whether or not they win or lose, you will still love them and will be proud of them. Kids see how much their parents are investing (time and money) in their sports, and they worry they'll upset their parents with anything other than victory.
Courage isn't the absence of fear, it's doing what is right in spite of the fear. Encourage your children to see scary situations as opportunities to develop courage.
Former Olympic Softball head Coach Mike Candrea shares his thoughts on building confidence in youth athletes. Read the article
It is the responsibility of players and coaches to try to win. You have a much more important responsibility: making sure your children draw from sports the lessons that will help them become successful, contributing adults.
Steve Fraser, USA Wrestling National Team Coach, encourages parents to relax and allow their child to own their youth sports experience. Watch the video
Your children's youth sports experience will end, and it may happen suddenly. Hopefully, you will not look back and think, "I wish I had enjoyed it more instead of obsessing over performance, or playing time or the team's record." Enjoy the experience; it will end too soon.