Parents, Coaches & Teachers – The Drama of Youth Sports

As always, share this if you think it is important. I think this is good information for all of us to think about once in awhile.

Not every situation is a “major” event. There seems to be a trend of “hanging on every word” a 7 year old says. There seems to be a sensitivity to every action of our athletes and coaches. Children will say “no I am not excited about going to practice” once in awhile. That doesn’t mean that there is anything major going on that needs to be investigated.

We seem to be leaning toward doing something if it isn’t quite right, today. A child talks her Mom into signing up for an 8 week session, makes one comment in the 4th week that she doesn’t like going anymore and the parent feels compelled to act, sometimes allowing the child to quit. The lesson the child just learned?

A coach or teacher who comes to a parent and mentions that little Suzie didn’t have a real good practice doesn’t mean that something major is going on. It is natural for an athlete or student to have a bad day once in awhile. No sweat, just natural. Now if she has gone 3 weeks with the same not so good behavior, then we need to take a look. The process of learning includes good days and bad. Days when something is learned and days when nothing is learned. The process of learning in youth sports includes striking out, falling off beam and missing a hurdle. All natural when dealing with children.

Maybe we all need to “chill” a little bit more. A skinned knee doesn’t mean a 911 call. A bad competition doesn’t mean the coach has “lost” their ability to coach. An umpire blowing a call at second base doesn’t mean that they have it in for your team. These are natural happenings. Minor, not major.

A child becomes a prepared, well adjusted young adult by experiencing about 2 million (my estimate) situations as they grow. There are very few “major” situations within those 2 million. They are all small steps that we experience, learn from and then move on. If we get overly sensitive to every step in the development of your child/athlete we will go crazy. The stress level will be unbearable. We will be looking over the shoulder of everyone who spends 5 minutes with our precious, easily broken child.

I believe that most children are very resilient with a strong shell. I also believe that it is possible to make that shell thinner and thinner if the adults in their lives treat every situation as a “major” event. The kids are watching us. They are learning how we, as adults, handle the every day situations that arise. One math test in 6th grade isn’t going to affect their potential for a college scholarship. Making an out happens more often in a baseball game than getting a hit.

Raising a child is about an 18 year adventure. A series of small, learning events and activities that will shape your child. Enjoy the ride rather than stressing so much about every step. The coaches and teachers helping your family will do a much better job if they don’t have a group of stressed out parents watching every minute of every practice. The less drama we have in the incredible world of youth sports the better. Less stress helps make a great learning “lab” for the development of our kids and athletes. Less stress makes it more fun for the adults too. “Enjoy the ride.” Tom Burgdorf Gymnet Sports on Facebook

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