Parent Resources for ONE Great Youth Sports Experience.
Creating a great environment for both parents and children and fostering a healthy competitive youth sports program.
The youth sports experience is like a three legged stool. It depends on the Coach, Player AND Parent to support a great experience. If any one of three legs is missing, the stool falls over.
The Parent spends more time with the young athlete than anyone else, and setting the tone for Youth Sports as a development and recreational zone is paramount to the youth sports experience. As a parent, you can help define the youth sports experience by promoting good behaviors and setting expectations correctly throughout the season:
Encouragement, not criticism. These are kids – they make mistakes and they need continuous reinforcement from their parents and coaches to keep trying.
Praise of effort and focus, not analysis of performance. Repetition is the name of the game when learning new skills. Much like when your player first learned to walk, celebrate the little victories that will give them the reinforcement they need to keep progressing. Parents and Coaches should praise the effort of the player, not the result. If the coach teaches proper mechanics at practice and the parent practices with the player at home, the results will come. So praise the effort that will produce the result.
Competitive fun, not burden of loss. Here’s some simple math – in a two team competition, the scoreboard will reflect that one of the teams has lost. But losing the game doesn’t mean you lost the experience, fun and development opportunity that the game offered. The real loss would be to burden your young athlete with the outcome of the contest and discourage them from all of the benefits that youth sports offers – don’t do it. At One Sports Nation, we promote competitive fun. We want-to-win, but we don’t have-to-win to enjoy the experience.
Developing life skills and confidence, not fear of failure. Youth sports is about preparing kids for life – not just winning games or trophies. Out there, in the real world, our kids will have to deal with competitive loss whether its losing out on that job opportunity, getting a C+ in math, or dealing with social strife. Youth Sports prepares them for all the curve balls that life will throw at them in an environment that can be framed by quality adult leadership. The parent has a huge role and opportunity to make their youth sports experience a rewarding and educational one that will help them overcome adversity in their adult life.
Family Fun, not family stress. Your kid does not play for your favorite professional sports team and likely never will. But the impact you can make on your young athlete to give best effort, gain confidence, develop respectful mannerisms, engage socially, experience winning (AND losing) and seeing other people do the same…. That’s a positive youth sports experience and one you can share with your whole family. Game Day should be a family fun celebration before during and after the game. Do something special with your game days!