COACHING & PARENTING:
Youth Sports - Perspective!
Ultimately, positivity is the approach all coaches should champion, digest and place into action. Parents need to be positive, compassionate and of all things...nice on the sidelines! Having a culture of positivity helps young athletes get the most out of play and participation in team sports. Coaches generally are volunteers as are many referees. Even if they get paid to coach or monitor an activity, they too are human, and just like you deserve respect and empathy. Encouraging athletes with positive reinforcement helps to establish trust. After-all, for someone to completely let go and learn, coaches and parents must be absolutely trustworthy and consistent. In every sport, just like in the classroom, the number one thing a good teacher, mentor or coach does is create a “safe learning environment.” With this, children must come to practice already hydrated, fed, and prepared to have a great day! Kids should arrive to practice ten minutes early or more to mentally gather themselves and visualize what’s next. Now, one off-balance or unruly child destroys the safe-learning-environment for the rest of the children. This absolutely includes game play. If your child acts out in a game, it is your responsibility to help him or her work through the problem and correct the negative behavior. It's not on the coach!
In today’s point & click world, many of us can easily become distracted and are working harder than ever. But as parents, as adults, our kids can’t see our stress, anxiety or any semblance of apathy. Psychological studies confirm, parents are the most influential people in our children’s lives; inevitably, they’ll pick up some of our mannerisms, ideas, habits, fears, and talents. If they are acting out at practice or in a game, where do they learn this type of behavior is acceptable and enabled?
Kids will eat like we eat, speak like we speak, treat themselves and the world around them as we do, and appropriately, positively or negatively, behave as we behave. If as a parent, you have negative outbursts while driving, what are your children observing and how will that play into their tolerance and patience around others? Equally, if you are on the sideline blaming the referees or an opposing coach, what codependent habits are you exemplifying? Yes, you are teaching your child other people are responsible for their success or failure. You are teaching them to blame others and make excuses in life. Let's face it, a person's success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have at core with self. With this, the world is changed by your example, not your opinion or resume.
Now, part of positive parenting here includes helping to pack a bag with some extra clothing, water, and anything special the child might need to be comfortable and confident. While driving, talk about all of the positive things you have observed recently at home or at play. The home environment defines the success at practice more than many of us adults might know.
Adults, just like children, want to be valued and loved for their unique contributions and gifts. With truthful, specific praise, athletic performance improves as well as the chance kids stick with team or individual sports longer. Today, more than ever before in American History, playing and getting outdoors is vital for health, wellness and emotional balance. Over 60 percent of America is obese, and the habits we all develop as we are growing, through the age of twenty-four years old, will be carried forward in life. These habits, as we all know, can be truly hard to change. Next, in a safe-learning environment, truthful constructive criticism can also be productive, but this is unique to each child, just as it is to every parent. Help children to confidently believe they are destined to do great things. Sometimes focusing only on what a child did great is all that is necessary to harvest a smile and inspire dedication to the craft. Great coaches focus on the one or two things a child does efficiently and effectively, this develops a sense of pride and confidence in the young player. Simple works, complex fails.
As children grow older, more self-aware and perhaps competitive - insert the critique, be honest and provide solutions, techniques and drills to guide the player to greater levels of success. Consistent, positive feedback and allowing the player to put the skill to the test in game-play is critical. Remember, adversity doesn’t build character; it reveals it. Teach this to your child.
Even at the High School Varsity level, every child (they are children) needs a few meaningful minutes in the game if they made the team! Every child deserves the attention and encouragement from the coaching staff. Good coaches make weaknesses irrelevant and are not surprised by the achievements, big or small of their players. Let the kids contribute in meaningful ways, and trust me, you can still win every game! For coaches and parents alike, watch your thoughts! What we repeatedly fear or think about, often becomes our language or words, for better or for worse. Our words in-turn subtly if not directly become our actions. In life, athletics and business, our habits and words define our choices. Here, each choice results in either a positive or negative outcome. Our words as well as our actions possess all of the power on Earth to create a HUGE POSITIVE IMPACT or a negative one. As adults, our choices around kids in either direction will leave a lasting impression We all can remember our youth coaches, teachers and other parents who either had a positive or a negative impact on our lives. Youth sports is truly all-about creating and defining "memorable moments." What are your children going to remember?
Finally, most of the great players we see in youth competition are not going to the Olympics or Professional ranks. They deserve positive encouragement with the ultimate goal of confidence, kindness and fun at play. “Competing” is extremely healthy in athletics, business and life. But as adults, we have to create a positive culture and environment for recreational or competitive play.
Positively Yours, Peter D. Bouloukos
CEO - Founder - Close To Open Consulting - Headliner Products USA NCAA Sports Analyst - Writer - DieHard Media Inc.
14 years Coaching - 30 Years Management, Leadership, Mentoring, Adulting!
Positive Quotes. Parenting Quotes. Coaching Quotes. Happiness Quotes.
"Victory is in having done your best. If you’ve done your best, you’ve won." - Billy Bowerman
"Wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love." - Rumi
"Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans. It is lovely to be silly at the right moment." - Horace
"One small positive thought can change your whole day." - Zig Ziglar
"One person can make a difference, and everyone should try." - John F. Kennedy
"How high you fly is derived from how big you think." - Robin Sharma "Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you." - Mary Lou Retton
"Be the light in the dark, be the calm in the storm and be at peace while at war." - Mike Dolan
"“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion!" - unknown "Life has no limitations, except the ones you create." - Les Brown
“Life is too short to be small, be patient, we all have a space between stimulus and response, and equally, we all are a product of our choices or reactions. Be bigger than your surroundings!" - Coach Peter Bouloukos
"Do the right things, at the right times, for the right reasons...good reasons serving the best interests of others and lifting them up in the process." - Coach Peter Bouloukos