There is a moment of big impact for athletes after the competition is over, and that is the conversation, feedback, and interaction with their parents. As serious as youth sports have become, we have to remember that it’s just a game, and it’s a game that should be used for development in a multitude of areas. First, I want to point out some truths, then I want to offer some advice.
-Most athletes say the WORST part of the game was the car ride home with their parents when they discussed what went wrong.
-If they played bad, they are already frustrated and disappointed in themselves, and the last thing they want is to also think they let you down.
-The last thing most kids want to do on the ride home is rehash each moment of the game with you.
-Athletes don’t gain much, if anything, from hearing parents (or other adults) questioning their actions, the other players’ actions, or the coach’s decision making.
-Conversations driven by the parent about a game (or practice) make the child feel like their value is tied to their performance, or wins and losses.
How to do better:
-Most important thing to provide: the safety of your love, which is not tied to performance ever. Tell them “I love watching you play.”
-Let them drive any conversation about the game. If they don’t want to talk about it, don’t try to. Maybe they need a distraction or to forget about it and you can help provide this.
-If they do want to talk about it, use questions more than your opinions. Praise effort over result.
-Be a source of confidence and comfort when your athlete has been in a difficult situation (tough loss, played badly, didn’t play).
-Remember, it’s not just what you say, it’s also your emotions. Be mindful of how you are acting.
Your reaction after a game has an impact on your relationship with your child, and your child’s relationship with the sport. Be mindful of what they need, and make sure you keep the long game in perspective of why they play and their joy in the journey of the sport.
Everything we choose to do or not do is a choice. Avoid the excuse of “I don’t have time.” If it is important to you, you make time for it. As we go about our day and make decisions about where to spend our time, let us be as intentional as we can, understanding that everything we do is a choice. Being busy is a decision, and valuing the right things in our life helps us make the right choice more often than the wrong one. Prioritize appropriately!
The comfortable things in our lives are very attractive. Our alarm goes off and we want to sleep a little longer. We are in the middle of the week and we crave the weekend. We look for shortcuts or the easy way out. This is human nature and very normal. But, as intelligent humans we also seek more than what our nature seeks.
Boredom sets in quickly in the comfort zone because we have an inner drive to accomplish, to serve others, to be a part of something. A full life is not accomplished sleeping the day away, avoiding meaningful work, or always searching for shortcuts. This is where we must push ourselves to be a little uncomfortable, to seek the struggle. The most enriching experiences are to bump into friction, to fail, to be selfless, to reach high and fall a bit short.
On days we feel insignificant or unfulfilled, we likely did not engage in this type of living. Feeling alive in the struggle is a huge part of our happiness, and hiding in our comfort zone doesn’t provide this rush or deeper meaning. This quote sums it up nicely: “If you want to avoid boredom, feel alive, and continue growing as a person, struggle with something interesting and valuable to you at all times” (Brian Kight). The struggle is a good thing, just change your mindset on it. Maybe you will begin to crave it, instead of the more comforting option.
"Get Better" is our PEAK blog, providing you with content to help enhance your game, your mind, and your relentless pursuit of the process! Enjoy.
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