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Friday, July 6, 2012

One For the Road...


In my examination of our role as parents in the last excerpt/post I neglected to give you a little background about that piece. As much as it was supposed to spark a specific thought process where you as the reader is concerned, it was also a cathartic piece for me as I began my evolution in positive coaching philosophy and style.

The following is the preamble to the "Ten Pearls of Wisdom for Parents" from earlier in the week. As you read through, you will notice small discrepancies in the timeline because this was written so long ago, but all in all I'm sure you'll get the idea.

Cheers for a great weekend -

The Long Ride Home

Thought we might switch gears today and examine one of the issues in youth sports that is overlooked more than Bobby Knight's behavior on the bench... the ride home after an athletic contest with parents. Some of the worst parenting and coaching in the world takes place in the privacy of the dreaded car ride home. Parents berate, condescend and over power young athletes to the point that many of them may lose all interest in a sport they truly love.

This was never more evident to me than with my own son. I've been his coach since he was old enough to walk. I've given him, in my opinion, some of the best coaching and advice that can be given to a young athlete. That said there's still a parent-child relationship to foster before athletics. Admittedly, I've always been tougher on my own children than other kids I've coached, but being involved with youth football this past season really opened my eyes.

This football season was my son's first year of tackle football. I had always heard how rabid parents were in youth football, but I thought it was a basic over-exaggeration (like most things concerning kids and sports where parents are concerned). I quickly found out how completely insane parents were about their children in youth football. Wow! Not to mention some of the egos involved within the administration of the league itself. Man, am I glad we waited to get involved! We were lucky enough to be on a team filled with good young men and coaches who actually liked and respected each other. Being a "consultant" I was shielded from most of the ignorance, but from time to time the head coach and I would have a chat about things that I only thought happened in collegiate or professional sports. At the end of the day it's just youth sports... not collegiate, not semi-pro, not professional - youth.

Hmmmmm... where is he going you ask? The answer is really simple. Parents (present company included), always want the best for their kids. However, we can all be a bit over the top when "critiquing" our young athlete's play. He or she may not be living up to whatever expectation we may have, but that's not for us to decide. Although they are children, and to a point they will always be children in our eyes, they need to take some responsibility and figure things out on there own. If it's important to them, they'll go for it. As parents and role models I believe it's our job to give them every opportunity to be successful... that's it. Present the opportunity, provide support and leave the rest to them.

I'm just sayin...

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