Carte blanche: Over-competitive parents are killing kids sports, writes Simon Smallbone.
Winning is great for kids, but losing is just as important. What matters most for kids, and what should matter most for parents, is fun! Parents think they want success for their kids, but in many ways they want it for themselves. Kids really just want to run around, have fun and go for a pizza. So how can parents help their kids have fun? Here are ten ideas.
Parents need to be positive and realise kids have a need for long-term development. You want your kid to be a better player, right? This can happen if they win or lose. So the result is not important. Focus on your child’s long-term development.
Parents can ruin things. Focus on what you say after the match or training. Do you say “Did you have fun?” or do you critique with “How did you not score a goal?”
Be an invited guest at matches. Don’t shout at players, at referees, or moan at other kids. Don’t behave like it is a professional game. At kids sport, just bring a chair and enjoy watching your kid have fun.
Parents should wear tape over their mouths. Your role is a spectator. You are not the coach. You are not the official. You are the spectator. Enjoy it!
Speak to the coach, don’t SMS or email. If something is bothering you then speak to the coach. Don’t send an SMS the night before the match complaining.
Coaches don’t have the time to coach. Remember coaches coach because they make the time. The team may not exist if nobody volunteers for it. Respect that, or if not, do it yourself.
The more a coach screams and shouts the more it is about the coach than about the kids. A coach who shouts the entire game just wants to win. A coach who lets kids make mistakes is helping the kids learn and doing a great job.
Parents are the biggest obstacles to their kids development. If you don’t bring your kid to practice then your kid won’t learn. Kids who don’t learn don’t play so much. Kids who don’t play so much quit. You need to commit the time!
Your child is not that good. All kids need encouragement to be better. All kids need reality to keep their feet on the ground. Most importantly, so do parents!
Kids learn the most at training. It is when they practice aspects of the game. It is where they touch the ball the most. Games are only a way to measure and put into practice the learning. It is not all about the match!
If your kid’s team is losing all its matches, it isn’t important! If your kid’s team is winning all its matches, it isn’t important! If your kid is sad when training is over and he wants to stay and do more because he is having fun and learning, then that is important.