Mar 7, 2012

Sports Parents and Their Athletes

Bruce Brown is a nationally recognized speaker, coach and athletic director with over 35 years coaching in multiple sports from college to youth.   The focus of his athletic coaching is using the athletic experience to provide an opportunity for character growth.
He and a colleague, Rob Miller, have conducted an informal study over the last three decades by interviewing collegiate and professional athletes about the role of parents in sports.  Here are some of the more interesting findings that can help you be a better sports parent!
The Biggest Downer – Game Analysis on the Drive Home
The vast majority of parents make the ride home from games miserable for their children…but do so inadvertently.   According to Brown, in the moments after a game, win or lose, kids desired distance…a chance to transition from athlete back to kid,  they don’t want to hear what when wrong in the game (their mistakes, teammate mistakes, coach critique, etc.)   And remember, this is the elite athlete speaking … the ones that made it to the collegiate or professional ranks.
The Biggest Upper:  “I Love to Watch You Play”
Pretty simple!  Try it on your kids…instead of the dreaded post game analyis. 
Brown says his research shows young athletes especially enjoy having their grandparents watch them perform.  "Overall, grandparents are more content than parents to simply enjoy watching the child participate," he says. "Kids recognize that."  A grandparent is more likely to offer a smile and a hug, say "I love watching you play," and leave it at that.
The 5 Signs of a Nightmare Parent
1.       Overemphasizing sports at the expense of sportsmanship
2.       Having differing goals than your child
3.       Treating your child differently after a loss than a win
4.       Undermining the coach (i.e. sideline coaching)
5.       Living your own athletic dream through your child
The 5 Signs of an Ideal Sports Parent
1.       Cheer for everybody on the team, not just your child
2.       Model appropriate behavior
3.       Know what is suitable to discuss with the coach (mental and physical treatment of your child and how to improve are in, but taboo topics include playing time, team strategy and discussing team members other than your child)
4.       Know your role (player plays, coaches coach and parents cheer appropriately…remember you are at a kids sporting event, not a professional game with paid adults)
5.       Be a good listener and a great encourager
This is just a small part of Bruce Brown’s extensive writings.  More of Bruce Brown’s work can be found at http://www.proactivecoaching.info.