Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Top Youth Sports Concerns and Positive Parenting Solutions

There is a very fine line between parents "pushing"
athletes and "encouraging" them when it comes to youth
sports. Parents and coaches who push and go beyond the
encouraging point, create a negative sports environment
that often leads to a lack of motivation and fun for youth
athletes. In my years of coaching I have noticed the same
parental concerns, which spoke to the push versus encourage
dilemma. A lack of concrete answers to these concerns often
lead to tensions and frustrations that could be avoided.
Parents of athletes who practice the positive parenting
solutions below can avoid these tensions and frustrations
and create the positive sports environment that kids
deserve to have.

Top Youth Sports Concerns and Positive Parenting Solutions

1."He never wants to practice". Parents get very
frustrated when they see their young athlete prefer to play
video games more than wanting to play or practice the
actual sport.

Positive Parent Solution - Practicing alone can be very
boring. Practicing with kids and finding friends for them
to play with is good. When practicing with them parents
should display patience at all times. Sometimes, it is
best to just play with kids without giving instruction
too. When kids begin to feel comfortable playing and
practicing with their parents without constant analysis,
they won't mind practicing more. It is also vital
that parents search out ways to make practice fun. Local
high school and college coaches can be valuable sources of
fun filled ideas.

2."He/She is not having fun"." Kids love to please their
parents and when they feel like they are letting them down,
playing sports will not be fun.

Positive Parent Solution - Parents should have a
heart-to-heart talk with player to make sure they are
interested in that particular sport. It will also help to
not "grill" kids immediately after games about their
performance. Waiting till a later time to talk about game
details can give players time to get over disappointments.
Parents, who wait awhile before judging play and giving
tips, can help kids feel like they are not letting their
parents down and are creating a less tension filled

3."She won't listen to me" A very common concern from
parents that causes parents much frustration.

Positive Parent Solution - Parents who say things in a
"matter of fact" way when offering sport tips and an
excited voice when she does well is always advised. Kids
will begin to trust their parents advice with this method
and begin to listen more. Using words like "Try this next
time" and "We will work at it" are better than "Do this"
and "You need to practice more.

4."It's all in his head." Another common parent concern
which means they feel like the player cannot perform well
because they are "psyching themselves out."

Positive Parenting Solution - A lack of success leads to
a lack of confidence, so whether it is in the child's head
or not, confidence can only be gained with success. Success
only comes with improved fundamentals and practice.
Learning the correct fundamentals from a knowledgeable
coach can make a huge difference. Practicing the correct
fundamentals often leads to success with confidence to
follow, so it will not be "in his head" any longer.

5. They can do it in practice but never in a game. Game competition is obviously different
than practice.

Positive Parenting Solution - Players that are challenged
appropriately and who are put in situations where they have
a chance to succeed are best prepared for game competition.
The more players are familiar with game situations the
better chance of success. Following the advice listed in
point number four can help this situation, too.
6. "His coach doesn't know anything."

Extremely common parent and athlete concern but coaching is
never as easy as it seems.

Positive Parenting Solution - Parents should not expect
volunteer coaches to be experts. For parents who want the
best for their young athletes they should find
knowledgeable, well-respected coaches for their kids. They
may have to pay for professional coaching but it is often
well worth it in the long run for the serious

7. "She wants to make high school team." Competition can be
great in well populated areas and this is a legitimate
concern for average players.

Positive Parenting Solution - Of course, there are never
any guarantees but helping kids to learn the skills and
strategies of sport at a young age followed by years of
practice and play give kids the best chance of achieving
the high school playing goal.

"Playing major league baseball - fun; helping kids -
priceless." Jack Perconte has dedicated his post major
league baseball career to helping athletes and adults
navigate the challenging world of youth sports. He shares
his playing, coaching and parenting experiences in his
books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete: How
to Instill Confidence, Build Skills and Inspire a Love of
Sport. http://positiveparentinginsports.com/

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