The last two JiuJitsu contests that I witnessed, I’ve been confronted with a situation, wich is not a new one, but undoubtedly one that needs to be addressed: the young athlete’s parents.
The athlete’s parents need to find the perfect balance between pushing the chjild back, be critical, loving, encouraging, standing on the sidelines, keeping silence or cheering vocally for him. The problem is that when you work with young athletes, sport parents can make or break the success you have with your clients. Your athlete’s parents can often undo the work you do with your young athlete, so the question that needs to be answered is: How much a parent needs to be involved in the sport practiced by the child?
Some specialists say that parents should push their youngsters, in order to prepare them for the rigor of competition and life itself. On the other hand, other experts say, that they should get away, relax and let the athlete just play and have fun.
For example, sports parents can damage athlete’s confidence. They don’t do it with a bad intent, but the results is just the same, lower confidence for some athletes.
Next, I’m putting you a list of difficult situations that I’m often confronted with, when I’m working with a young athlete. The situations are appearing because of the way parents are involving themselves in the competition. Also, I’m offering you an understanding and a way to assist organic from your side, the performance of your athlete.
1. High expectations.
Be accepting and tolerant with your youngster learning process, and his physical abilities. Be sure he know that wining or not, you love him, appreciate his efforts and that you are not disappointed. This will allow him to do his best without the fear of failure.
2. Negative approach.
Be productive, but don’t coach him on the way to the matt, court or on the way back, at breakfast, at dinner and so on. Your job is to be supportive!
3. Distracting the athlete from the task.
Your presence should be supportive, cheerful, and minimal. Pep talks, advice, critical instruction should come only from specific person like coach.
4. Competing with the coach
You both have clearly defined roles that should complement each other. Encourage your child to respect his coach, the game philosophy, attitudes, ethics and knowledge.
5. Re-living their athletic life
Don’t try to relive your athletic life through your youngster. Accept that you are two distinct persons, with different lifestyles, attitudes, desires, and dreams. Accept also that your child may desire a different sport then you. Or that may never excel at any sport.
6. Comparing skill, courage or attitudes with others.
Everyone is different. One athlete can climb mountains but he can be afraid of spiders. One can fight, but turn to jelly if a bee approaches. Everyone is frightened in certain areas. You should tell your child that courage is not the absence of fear, but a means of doing something in spite of fear or adversity.
7. Blaming the echipaments, coach, other players.
Blaming others teaches non-accountability. When you’re doing that, you will undermine a useful process of understanding, where the athlete did wrong or what he needs to improved in order to have a successful outcome.
One of many tools and my favorite, that works with difficult parents and give results, is to use a team approach and help parents instill confidence and other positive mental skills. So is my job, to educate parents about how they can support their youngsters mental game.
When a parent is not supporting the athlete’s mental game, like he should do, makes my job twice as hard because the parents athletes’ has a big roll in winning or losing.
Based on the research conducted on what to say, and how to encourage your child, before and after competition, the best thing your should say is:
Before the competition:
Play hard! (In the sense of “do your best”)
I love you!
After the competition:
You had fun?
I am proud of you!
I love you!
How do you support your child in sport, in his endeavors, to become a successful athlete?