Why Sports Parent Agonize about Pressuring Young Athletes

Help Athlete Cope with Bad calls

Parents Pressure in Youth Sports

Here at the Ultimate Sports Parent and Kids’ Sports Psychology, we receive many letters from parents who are confused about how much they should pressure their kids.

In fact, it’s not an overstatement to say they agonize about this topic…

Agonize, you might ask? Yes. There’s lots to agonize about when it comes to pressuring your kids in youth sports.

Here’s what parents ask:

  • Should I make my child go to practice when he doesn’t want to?
  • Should I insist that my 9-year-old daughter try playing a sport?
  • I can see many ways my daughter’s basketball could improve.
  • Should I tell her my ideas after a game? Or would this feel like pressure?
  • I often tell my son to score 15 points before a game. My hope is to get him psyched, but lately I’m not so sure I’m helping. What do you suggest?
  •  My kids got mad at me yesterday for shouting positive things from the sidelines. I thought I was supporting them, but now I find out they think I’m pushing them too hard. How should I behave?

To help answer some of these questions, we recently checked in with Ryan and John, 20-year-old Division 1 wrestlers, about how their parents raised them.

Ryan and John discussed how parents can support their kids, based on their own experiences as wrestlers:

Understand the difference between support and pressure.

Support means attending matches, cheering kids on and videotaping–if kids ask.

Don’t get too technical or over-coach your sports kids. Leave that up to the coaches.

Don’t push young athletes to enroll in sports. It should be their decision.

Help out the coach in any way you can. For example, if he or she needs someone to keep score, ask to help.

Sports parents, you have every reason to agonize about your effect on your child’s sports experience. How you behave is critically important to helping your young athletes feel confident and happy.

Right now, you can find ways to end your confusion. And take the wrestlers’ suggestions one step further. You can learn much more, how to positively motivate your young athletes and how to communicate with them and their coaches.

You can listen to audios about how to talk to young athletes so they’ll listen to you, as well as other audios from sports experts.

And that’s not all, visit Kids Sports Psychology and you can immediately download many sports psychology e-books for your kids, videos about perfectionism and other topics, plus sports psychology articles. And a bunch of other programs!

*Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on iTunes
*Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on Spotify

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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