Parents & Athletes – When Coaches Have To Push A Little

This is natural. This is needed. This is important.

Pushing, motivating, inspiring, helping to focus, use whatever words come to mind but they all mean one thing – helping. Coaches and teachers have to push once in awhile. Even the best and most motivated students/athletes can fall into a temporary rut that slows progress and wastes time. Should the teacher/coach just sit back and wait until the 8 year old works things out? I think not. The sooner we can motivate them to work harder and realize that they are wasting time the better.

When we push a little, your athlete/student may not be happy. Oh, heaven forbid that the child is briefly unhappy. They may even point a finger at the adult who is pushing them. They may even “tell” on the teacher or coach. It is so great that most parents understand these little situations can arise and will stand behind the coach/teacher. The adults know the big picture and the adults know that we are maturing these young kids and a little pushing is necessary.

This is not a drastic measure or technique. I wish all kids were self motivating and always consistent in their behavior but they aren’t. This, in fact, makes teaching and coaching so interesting. Add parenting to that too. The challenge is to help keep the kids on the path to happiness, improvement and success as they sometimes stray off the road a little bit on their journey. Natural, natural, natural.

Pushing a child is NOT a reflection on the parents. Don’t take it personally when a coach says to you that they had to push your child a little at practice. Again, this is natural. It is not serious and every athlete is pushed at times during their career. It is part of learning.

The pushing teacher/coach? They push because they care. They don’t want to see your child, their student/athlete, treading water. There are things to accomplish and improvement to be made and we care enough for your child to push.

Now if a student/athlete needs to be pushed all of the time then that is a different situation that has to be dealt with. And we all know that pushing should involve gentle nudges, an occasional stern look and maybe even a “I am disappointed in your effort.” Nothing extreme in our pushing as we want to inspire rather than a lot of punishing.

As always, we are a team (parent, coach, athlete) with the ultimate goal of a mature young adult ready and prepared for life. A little pushing along the way can help create an incredible finished product. Tom Burgdorf and Gymnet Sports on Facebook

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