Sports Parents Need Boundaries
I did a social media survey last week and asked for feedback on problems dealing with youth athletics. I have to admit that I knew “parents” would show up as an answer. I just didn’t expect it to be the #1 answer. Following closely in second place was “untrained coaches”, and “lack of fundamentals” for third.
Can you see the common thread? The athlete has little control over any of these situations. The ability to create change lies in the hands of the adults entrusted to care for the athletes. Our young ones can’t make informed, nor financial decisions on their own so the responsibility to do so falls to the adults.
Overbearing parents make playing sports extremely difficult. I can speak from personal experience. For years, I have watched parents drag their kids to training when the kid dreads being there. You can see it plastered over their faces. For lack of a better term, “forcing” them to play a sport has its pro’s and con’s.
#1-It ensures that the young one is physically active and engaged.
#2-The young one can learn life skills from structured programs.
#3-The young ones can build relationships with their peers.
#1-The young ones may grow to resent the sport
#2-They will incur injuries at an earlier age.
#3-They will resent the parent for forcing them to play.
I can’t necessarily tell you how to run your household, but I can give my honest observation from working with youth since 2012. Kids still need to have fun being a kid. Rigorous training and practice can steal precious time away from their friends, and siblings. If you want to vicariously live your sports dream through your kids, I advise finding a different hobby. I have nothing against parents pushing their kids. I admire it. I only recommend knowing the limits of your child’s sanity.
Believe me when I say that I don’t want to train them when they are burnt out, or rebellious. I did nothing to deserve that kind of treatment. Parents must understand that the officials are human-beings just like you. Many of the time they are volunteers just like you. Show a little more grace after they missed their twelfth traveling call.
Try your best not to yell “at” your kids while the game is on. That’s especially heinous. Their friends are all watching. Everyone has a role on the team and typically, the kids with the most talent, coordination, and experience will get the majority of playing time. I recommend hiring a trainer to help your child improve their technique and confidence. I’ll leave you with this nugget of wisdom.
No matter how gifted little Johnny is, and how much better he is than the other kids, he still may never make it pro. That’s a reality check for you. Do your best to eliminate the “participation trophy” culture, and teach your athletes “how” to lose. Losing teaches us great lessons. Competition is needed to stretch them so let them endure some pain. It will help them as they run into additional life threatening issues.
I have the absolute assurance that you will be a parent that doesn’t attack the refs, and coaches for failing to develop your kids. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is the here, the now, and eternity. God loves them regardless if they never put on another jersey. I believe in you!
“Always remember your purpose and your worth net. Never a day are you worth-less, because you’re worth it…And so much more!”