According to a survey of 300 kids between the ages of 8 and 14 commissioned by i9Sports:
- 84% of children said they quit or wanted to quit a sports team because it wasn’t fun.
- 42% said they’d rather play video games than sports.
- 31% of children wished adults weren’t watching their games.
This survey of 300 kids “clearly showed that America needs to reevaluate youth sports, which have become too cut throat, competitive and not much fun,” says Brian Sanders, COO and president of i9 Sports. “We forget sports are teaching tools for life. Kids are learning behaviors picked up by teammates, coaches and parents. We need to be better teachers.”
TRPD’s Point of View:
No one says it’s easy parenting an athlete. If there is one destructive parent behavior that we see regularly, it is how parents go about providing their players feedback after games and practices. Here is the approach that we recommend:
- After a game or practice, talk only about what the player did well, and absolutely nothing about his errors or areas he can improve.
- Be brief, be positive and be done with it.
- Players, especially younger players, do not want or need much feedback. For most, “great catch out there in right field tonight” is plenty.
- Most importantly, there is nothing that a player can do about his mistakes until the next practice or game.
- Discussing them at this point is extremely frustrating and demotivating.
- Finally, discussing their mistakes directly after a performance robs them of the joy of their successes and accomplishments.
- The appropriate time to discuss areas for improvement is immediately prior to the next practice, when they have the ability to do something about it.
Make sure the players enjoy having your support as parents, instead of dread it. What are your thoughts? How do you effectively parent your athlete? What tips do you have for other parents? Let us know on the TRPD Facebook page.