The Fine Line Between Motivation And Pressure For Sports Parents
A sports dad asks a thoughtful question:
“My biggest struggle at the moment is truly finding out if my son wants to train and practice to please me ’cause I’m his dad, or because he really wants to improve his skills for himself. There are days when I see him practicing on his own, but how do I really know?”
It’s possible the answer is: A little of both.
The boy likes to play AND he wants to please his dad. That’s a pretty common scenario in youth sports.
If your sports kids drag their feet about going to practice, don’t seem to enjoy playing, and are always looking for your approval during games, it’s likely they are playing just for you.
But lots of kids throw themselves into youth sports AND want your approval.
You can help them with this. You can learn to motivate them without pressuring them–certainly a fine line.
First of all, you need to understand why they’re taking part in youth sports.
Kids generally play to:
—Be with friends or part of a group
—Experience the excitement of competition
—Impress or make others happy
—Learn and improve their skills
—Improve their physical fitness
—Experience a flow or feeling of enjoyment
They may also play to make others happy, which, as the sports dad points out, can create challenges. They don’t enjoy sports as much if they’re trying to make a parent happy and may drop out.
You need to understand why your sports kids are playing—and make sure they’re getting the enjoyment they seek. That means focusing on being with friends, learning and improving their skills, or other issues that are important to them.
Motivated kids have parents who believe in their potential. Parents set high goals for their kids and offer opportunities to fulfill their potential.
Be sure to avoid negative suggestions, using words like, “no, don’t or can’t.”
Kids think that they will always fail when you say things like, “It‘s okay not to be good at softball because your family lacks hand-eye coordination.”
The key for parents is to focus on their young athletes‘ small improvements. For example, golfers can learn simple tasks such as keeping their heads down during putting. These small improvements will help young athletes feel successful.
If you’d like to learn more about motivating kids without pressuring them, we’ve got a great eBook for you, “How to Motivate Young Athletes.” Exclusive members of Kids’ Sports Psychology have immediate access here:
How to Motivate Young Athletes
At Kids’ Sports Psychology, we’ve got loads of other resources for you, including eBooks, audio interviews, videos, and more—all designed to help you be the best sports parents you can be and for your kids to enjoy sports.
What do parents and coaches say about our resources?
“FANTASTIC! Your seven-day e-course is just what the doctor ordered. The seven-day e-course and the “10 Tips to Improve Young Athletes Confidence and Success” tweaked my sons’ confidence, which was lacking in his 12-year-old brain. I can’t wait to see the two confident building CD’s and booklet I ordered. My sons burning desire to win has been reborn! Big thanks.”
~Jim Tsotsos, sports parent
P.S. Exclusive KSP members can learn how to motivate their athletes without pressuring them by clicking here: How To Motivate Young Athletes
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