The most important person in a child’s development, in sports or otherwise, will almost always be the parent (though an excellent coach can sometimes make up any shortfall that may exist). However, there is often a fine line between a parent being supportive, communicative, and encouraging and a parent being overbearing, pushing too hard, and having extremely unrealistic expectations. We all know someone who is the ladder parent, which will ultimately lead to a child filled with self-doubt, all-too-high expectations, and burning out. But what kind of characteristics fall in the former category? What are some things that a parent should be doing to facilitate a child’s athletic growth?
At Competitive Thread, one of our mantras is being a leader on and off the ice. It is part of the holistic approach we try and bring to everything we do. You’ll notice that these five tips can be applied to just about every area of life, because they’re about being a better person, player, and family member.
So, here are five things parents can do to help their child achieve success!
Make clear the positive values that you and your family embodies.
What are the core values that you would like to emphasis to your child? For example: kindness, teamwork, resilience, encouragement, and integrity might be values that you want to instil in your child. Let your child know that these values are as effective in their everyday life as they are in their sport and maintaining these values while playing their sport is essential!
Be encouraging, not negative!
Emphasize the successes and the positives of their performance. Let them know what they did right and stop worrying about the outcome of the game. At this level, the outcome isn’t as important as the growth that comes with playing.
“Focus on the pursuit of excellence, not the pursuit of perfection.”
Be there for them when they fail
Confidence is a hard thing to come by as a child who is growing up and developing. They will go through many stages of confidence and many stages of insecurity as they face different levels of adversity, players, and changes in their body and play. What you have to be is simply there for them, with–as we said before–encouragement, or by simply letting them know that you believe in them. The bottom line: at some point, they’re going to lose their confidence and fail, and they’ll need you to help them build it back up!
Being competitive is great, but make it based on a healthy passion or love for the sport.
Embrace their passion for the sport or their competitive nature by letting them know what it means to have a healthy mindset, but try not to egg on their competitive nature. They’ll find it themselves! And if they don’t, perhaps the sport isn’t for them, which is okay too.
Remember, your child may not “get it” right away. They may not be particularly interested in the sport that you would like them to be. They might have other interests. Encourage them to have fun, to enjoy the sport for what it is, and let things develop naturally while you instil in them confidence, positivity, a healthy mindset, and happiness! You’re there to softly guide them on their path to success, not steer them exactly where you think they should go!
Make them leaders in life and in all likelihood they’ll be leaders in every aspect, including their chosen sport.
Finally, as a bonus, here’s something else parents can do: sign them up for either our upcoming development camps HERE or our testing camps HERE!