How To Be A Supportive Parent In Youth Sports Part 9
This is part 9 in the series of our interviews with Coach Dan Clemens. Here, he talks about How To Be A Supportive Parent In Youth Sports.
The best way and biggest thing parents can do to support their kids is to know what their kids want to accomplish with their sport and get in alignment with that. I think a lot of times as adults we bring 30 or 40 years of experience to the equation and that can be really helpful, but it also can really work against kids.
The research shows that kids want something different. They want to have fun and be with their friends and all those things. Adults want to win. Make sure you know what your kid wants out of the situation and then do whatever you can to support them in that.
Be comfortable with the fact that they are probably going to want something different than you do from that situation, and they are probably going to approach the situation differently than you do or did.
I have learned that with my son. We are two very different people. We look very similar and we have similar builds and all that, but he approaches things very differently than I do. It took me a long time to figure that out as his parent and as his coach of he is paying attention and he is taking this seriously.
He is just doing it differently than I am. Once I did that I was a better parent and I was a better coach of him at letting him be him. A common mistake for parents is to expect too much too soon.
You get parents by the time the kid is eight years old they have already got it mapped out which high school they are going to go to, which coach they are going to play for, what pro they are going to take lessons from, and then what college the kid is going to go to and have the scholarship, and what pro team they want him to ultimately play for.
And gosh just sit back and let the kid enjoy his game or her game for a while! My son is a sophomore in high school and it's only about now that I have even started talking to him much in any detail about college, programs, and if he wants to play in college.
He has always had that desire because I did. He may have the ability to do that, but I have tried to resist the urge even when he was entering high school and he was one of the better players in this age group or whatever. That will all take care of itself.
High school is four years long. We place too much emphasis as parents and as adults to things that happen before they get to high school. If they don't play for this coach, if they don't take these lessons, if they don't play in this league, then they are not going to have these opportunities.
As a high school coach that works with freshmen and sophomores who are entering into the program, there are a lot of opportunities. They are not done growing physically or emotionally or intellectually.
There's a lot of growth that happens in those early years of high school. That is what is really going to determine a lot of their progress and ultimately where they plateau. Parents need to just back off and let them enjoy the game.
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