Mike wrote a book that says a lot of good stuff about being a sports parent. His wisdom comes from 16 years of coaching at all levels and from seeing his own kids play sports.
I especially like what he says about listening to our young athletes.
He tells the story of how he used to critique his daughter’s performance on the way home from the game.
“I would proceed to share with her, totally unsolicited of course, what she could have done better or what she could have done different. Throw in some criticism of her coach (when it wasn’t me, of course) and her teammates, and by the time we got home, the house was really quiet. If she did share her thoughts with me, I always had an answer.”
Then one day a friend advised him to not discuss the game or practice during the car ride home unless his daughter brought it up. He suggested Mike just tell his daughter how proud he was of her and how much he enjoyed watching her play.
“When I finally took my friend’s advice, the change was very noticeable. After the game I would tell her I loved her, I was proud of her, and that I loved watching her play. That was it. The rest of the time we talked about other stuff, which wasn’t hard once I remembered that sports were only a small part of our total relationship. Usually, after a while, she would start to talk about the game…I just listened….The important thing to keep in mind was that she wasn’t looking for dad to fix the problem; she just needed dad to listen.”
I love that. She just needed dad to listen. In all of our sports parenting, if we could just remember that one bit of advice–how important it is to listen to our kids, instead of teaching, preaching, and critiquing–we would communicate unconditional love and support to our kids, support they need in every area of their lives.
That’s just one piece of great advice that Mike gives. He packs a lot of wisdom into this small 67-page book. Well worth your time, if you are a sports parent.