Teaching Sports Kids Emotional Intelligence

Youth Sports Expert Interview

Mark Greenburg, youth sports coach and former physical education teacher, says that emotional intelligence is one of the most important gifts sports parents can give their kids.

In a recent interview with Ultimate Sports Parent Radio, Greenburg, the author of “Elevated Leadership, a Pitch-by-Pitch Guide to Business, Life, and Baseball” said, “The biggest mistake parents make: They think of everything as game 7 of the World Series.”

They complain that their child didn’t get enough playing time, or went 0 for 3 and say the coach didn’t develop their child well, he added.

“Parents should spend more time giving kids the tools they need to approach the coach,” he said. Those emotional intelligence tools will benefit children throughout their lives. Someday kids might use that experience to ask a company CEO for a raise.

Sports parents can help kids communicate with coaches by role playing with their children. The parents can pretend to be the coach, and the kids can practice asking the coach for more playing time or making other requests.

Help kids learn how to approach the coach and say, “I’d like more playing time, what do I have to do to get to that point?”

When a child approaches Greenburg to ask for more playing time–as opposed to the parent making the request– he’s more open to giving that playing time.

Parents should also help kids practice empathy. If a coach is in a bad mood, suggest that young athletes think about what the coach is experiencing that day.

“You might say, ‘I wonder why she’s so upset today; maybe there was something that happened in her life,” Greenburg suggests.

Parents should also serve as role models who are self-aware. For example, Greenburg said, “I’m very emotional and don’t always think things through.” If he loses his temper, he admits he lost his temper and says he’s sorry. The goal is to model self-awareness to the child.

Our interview with Greenburg is packed with tips about helping kids develop emotional intelligence and get the most from their experience!

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Help Young Athletes Boost Confidence in Sports!

The Ultimate Sports Parent

Every day, we receive letters from parents like you who want their children and teens to excel in sports. However, these parents can see fear, doubt, and frustration on the faces of their kids who struggle with the “inner” game of sports. But these parents have no idea how to help their kids overcome the worries, expectations and self-defeating thoughts that prevent their young athletes from feeling confident and successful.

You can benefit from our 15-plus years’ of work in sports psychology and sports parenting research. Now, you can tap into our secrets to sports success through a cutting-edge, 14-day program that helps young athletes overcome the top “mental game” challenges that sports parents face—and the top challenges young athletes face.

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