Too often, well-meaning parents live through their children and expect their kids to take on their own dreams and goals. They evaluate their child’s success or failure based on his or her performance–not his or her happiness. They are overly critical. And, often, coach too much from the sidelines.
Rather than expressing enthusiasm by coaching from the sidelines and criticizing, parents need to take a step back. Try to understand why your child takes part in sports. Does he or she play to be with friends? Does your child play because she loves to be part of a team? Or does she enjoy competition?
Once you understand your child’s motivations, try to support his or her interests. Ensure he or she has the opportunity to spend time with teammates, to feel like part of a team, and to have fun. Being supportive also means letting children lead.
Kids who excel in sports are those who are passionate about it. And their drive comes from within–not from their parents. They’ll beg you to bat balls in your front yard with them, to rebound while they shoot baskets and to kick a ball in the neighborhood park. You don’t ever have to nudge these kids into practicing.
It’s also important to attend kids’ games, whenever possible. Cheer them on without pressuring them. Try to be supportive of coaches, referees and umpires. It’s important to set a good example–even if you don’t always agree with the coach, referee or umpire.
You’ll also help your children enjoy sports by telling them they’re doing a great job–whether they win or lose. Keep the focus off performance. Concentrate on fun, enjoyment, laughs! They’ll have more fun, learn important life lessons, and likely stay involved in sports for a long time.