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Many parents assume that the season will be shaped solely by what happens at their child’s practice. But the honest truth is that what happens at home can also have a huge influence on how your child’s season goes.
You see, youth sports should be a partnership between parents and coaches, each side doing what they can to nurture character growth and skill development in players, and at the same time encouraging them to have fun and enjoy the season.
The success of the season does not rest on the coaches’ shoulders alone. You, Mom and Dad, play an important part in your child’s accomplishments during competition. Here are 5 specific things you can do at home to boost your child’s in-game performance.
Give Them Space.
It’s easy for parents to be overly invested in their kids’ sports lives. I was one of those parents who wanted to know all about practice–Did the coach put you in the starting lineup? How many reps did you get? How do you feel you rank on the team?
I quickly learned to back off and let my kids have space. A simple “How was practice today?” was all they needed to hear to know that I was interested. It also gave them the freedom to answer as much or as little as they wanted.
How does “giving them space” help athletes play better? Your oppressive interest in their sports can result in a couple of things that will most definitely affect how they play in a game:
- They feel pressure from you to perform to a certain standard and may worry about disappointing you.
- They may feel that this is not their game; they are doing it to please you. That attitude could result in apathy which translates into a half-hearted effort on the court.
Give your child space to choose the sport he wants, to work as hard as she desires, and to enjoy the sport the way he wants to. If your child is truly motivated and loves the game, your encouragement and the space you give her will be the wind beneath her wings.
Teach Them to Care for Themselves.
If you really want to help your child play better, good nutrition and proper hydration are vital. Start teaching your athletes about how to properly fuel their bodies while they are young. Don’t get sucked into the junk food options that seem to abound in youth sports. I’m all for treats every now and then, but you will help your child’s performance for years if you lay a solid foundation of smart food and beverage choices.
Make a point of talking to them about why hydration and healthy food choices are so important.
Be the Parent, not the Coach, but be Available.
I’m a firm believer in separating the duties of parent and coach. Not only does it lessen the confusion in your child’s head, it also cuts down on tension in the parent/child relationships.
Obviously, there are parents who step up to coach their kids’s teams. That’s a challenge, even while it can be fun. During 29 years of coaching, the seasons when my husband coached one of our kids’ teams were always a little more sticky. Inevitably, there was added conflict because of it.
For parents who are coaches and for parents who just want to help their kids when they are asked, check out the courses available on Coachtube for over 30 sports from hundreds of coaches. Just taking a half hour after dinner to shoot hoops with your son or throw softballs to your daughter–when they ask or if you offer and they say yes–will show that you support their efforts. And learning proper technique from Coachtube will ensure that they are doing it right.
Whether you coach your child or not, be the parent who listens, supports, and cheers.
Listen A lot, and LOVE.
Sometimes kids just need to vent. They need a safe place to come home to, voice their frustrations and then move on. You don’t always have to give them an answer. In fact, unless they ask you a specific question, they probably could care less about what you have to say. There is a time and a place to speak truth to your kids, and there is also a time and a place to just listen.
For kids, just knowing that someone cares enough to listen, love and support is enough to boost their inner security and give them more confidence. Almost every article I’ve read on how to boost a child’s confidence starts with showing love and support.
And what does confidence translate into when it comes to sports? A confident player plays better, plain and simple. So if you want your kids to play better, start by building their confidence at home.
Believe in Them.
I saw the power of belief in my son during his senior year of football. As quarterback, he had a rough game about midway through the season and worried the whole weekend that the coach was to going to replace him. On Monday, the coach called him into his office and said, “TJ, here are three reasons I want you to succeed and why I believe in you.” My son walked out standing a little taller and came back with a stellar performance in the next game.
Belief empowers. Does your child know that you believe in him or her?
I’m not talking about false praise (telling your child she’s the best pitcher on the team and should be getting all the time on the mound when it’s obvious to everyone else that she can’t even throw a strike) or about telling your child he’s a phenom when he’s obviously not. Your child will see right through those kind of comments because she knows she’s not the best!
I’m talking about saying things like, “You’ve worked hard and I can’t wait to see the results!” or “I know you can do this!” or “I love watching you play; you’re awesome!” That kind of belief always sends your child out the door with his head held high, ready to take on the competition.
What Happens at Home
Unlike the popular phrase, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, what happens at home does not stay at home. How you parent your athlete at home can translate into a better performance in the game.
Click below to learn more about the hundreds of inexpensive courses offered on Coachtube.
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