If so, you’re not alone. In our survey of sports parents, a whopping 68% said they struggle with this question.
For example, your kids may be shy around their coaches and avoid asking questions that may help them excel.
Should you tell them, “Don’t forget to ask the coach about how to improve your free-throw shot!”
Or they may need some work on a specific skill. They know they need work, but aren’t putting out the effort.
Should you remind them gently that they should put a little outside effort into boosting this skill?
Should you invite them to the park to practice along with you?
Should you talk to the coach about helping your child with this skill?
Here’s another example: You notice that your sports kids freeze up when their friends from school come and watch them in a game….
Should you point out this problem? Ask your athletes to tell their friends to avoid coming to their games?
As you can see, these are tricky issues. The answers are not always obvious.
You truly want to help, but your well-meaning attempts to help your athletes improve can seem like pressure, which is what they don’t need.
To help your sports kids make the most of their talents without pressuring them, you should, first of all, support them in a positive way.
Go to their games. Offer to help the coach out. Be positive. That means provide positive feedback and avoid criticism.
Cheer for all the kids on the team. Bite your lip when you feel the urge to harp on their mistakes.
But if you also want to motivate them to try harder or try something different, you need to tap into what they love about playing sports:
- Do they love competing? If so, provide opportunities for them to compete—with you or with their friends.
- Do they love the social aspect of sports? If so, arrange some informal games with friends in your neighborhood.
- Do they love working on their skills? If your answer is yes, you might consider signing them up forsome outside clinics.
Most importantly, make sure your sports kids are having fun!
If you nag or pressure your kids, your efforts will backfire. Young athletes generally don’t respond well to parental pressure. We know first hand.
They need to practice because THEY want to practice—not because you want them to!
Want to learn more about how to help kids make the most of their talents and sports experience?
At Kids’ Sports Psychology, we have many resources for you. For example, exclusive members have access to this teleclass,
You can also access:
- Audio interviews with Dr. Larry Lauer, “How Much Parents Should Push Kids”
- An ebook, “Improve Young Athletes’ Motivation with Goal Achievement,”
Plus loads of additional audio interviews, articles, Q and As, teleclasses and videos!
Here’s what people say about our resources:
“Sports psychology for kids and sports parents is a wonderful topic, but I am so happy about what you’re doing in this area. I think professionals like you can be so valuable in helping sports parents.”
~Al Miller, Hall of Fame
Help your sports kids make the most of their talents!
Lisa Cohn and Patrick Cohn, Ph.D
p.s. Exclusive members can learn how to help motivate kids without pressuring them by checking out this teleclass…You have immediate access!