Whether your child is going to be the next super star or they just enjoy hanging out with their friends, encouraging your teenager to play sports will help them develop skills and habits that will help them greatly in life. Research and experience also teaches us that some parents take support too far by concentrating on winning, rather than on developing skills, and sometimes just having fun. The suggestions below, are to help you avoid becoming the ‘crazy sport parent’, I am sure you have met, and avoid crossing the fine line between encouraging & supporting and pressure.
Here are some do’s:
- It is important your teenager plays the sport they enjoy. While we would often like them to concentrate more, research shows their biggest motivation is commonly having fun, and will often want to drop out when they don’t enjoy it anymore.
- Let your teenager make mistakes, as Michael Jordan says above, it is what helps them succeed.
- Help your teenager to set goals and then measure their progress. As we speak to our ambassadors, their goal setting is a common theme, big goals and smaller achievable goals.
And some things to be aware of:
- Be aware that it is your teenagers goals, not your own. We have many parents try to live their own shortcomings or aspirations through their child.
- It is important not to critize and constantly yell instructions while they are competing. More often this embarrasses your young star and adds pressure. Feedback is ok when delivered calmly and positively with things they can do, not a list of things they have done wrong in your opinion!
- Make sure you don’t support them to look for excuses if they lose. Blaming everyone else doesn’t help your teen learn accountability for outcomes. They need to learn from their mistakes so they can grow.