- The Decision to: Rethink Recognition and Rewards
Your child repeats behaviors that they are recognized and rewarded for.
They also draw their sense of value and worth from the things they are consistently recognized and rewarded for.
A decision I implore sports parents to make it this→ start recognizing them for who they are rather than what they do.
- Point out their gifts and strengths as people, not just the ones they have as athletes
- Double down on positive reinforcement when you see them displaying strong character traits such as:
- Resilience and perseverance (not giving up when things get tough)
- Displaying empathy towards others
- Doing something fun for themselves outside of sports
- Resting and recovering! Yes, reinforce that please!!!
- Etc. You fill in the blank for habits and actions you’d love to see repeated because it will make them more joyful and successful in the long-term
- The Decision to: Question Your Questions
The questions we ask our kids do 2 important things for them:
- They reveal values- questions tell our kids what matters most to mom and dad (and coach)
- They reinforce values- the questions we are over and over again reinforce those values
If you value your child working hard, what question should you ask them after a hard fought game? “Did you work hard?”
If you value your child finding the good in any challenge and learning from their failures, what question should you ask them after they get the tough news that they didn’t make the team, didn’t earn 1st team all conference, didn’t get the grade they wanted? “What can you learn from this?”
What does it reveal to our kids when we ask “how did you do today?”
It reveals that results matter most.
Questioning your questions is exhausting. I wish we didn’t have to do it. But we do, so therefore it’s a top 3 decision for you to make.
- The Decision to: Choose Joy in the Journey
I watch parents all the time experience worry, anxiety, doubt, and fear that their kids won’t be successful in their sport.
I hear parents all the time who engage in confrontational conversations on a weekly basis with their kids around sports.
“If you really want to achieve the goals that you say you want to achieve, shouldn’t you go out and do wall ball more often?”
“You say you want this, but your actions show otherwise.”
“You gave up out there today.”
“You didn’t do ANY of the things we talked about during the game today!”
“Why did you get mad at your coach, why did you put your head down?”
“Why am I wasting money if this is the effort you put in?”
We ask these questions not to gain understanding or to be helpful, but oftentimes to make ourselves feel better by getting our thoughts and feelings off of our chest.
We ask questions in destructive rather than constructive ways.
We critique every last part of our children’s performance and sports journey, causing us to lose our joy in the journey and steal their joy simultaneously. We forget that ideal isn’t real, and that our kids will give less than their best effort, have negative attitudes from time to time, make dumb decisions on and off the field, etc.
Just like we did and we continue to do every day, right?
I know this is tough to hear, but my assumption is that you want to hear it so you can make different decisions. If not, there will be other emails from me that are less challenging!
Dedicated to your child’s success on and off the field,
Coach Andrew Simpson