This article reveals the reason your athletes may be underperforming, getting in their own heads, and being crippled by fear, worry, and self-doubt. It also is juiced with 4 immediately applicable ways to move in a better direction.
It seems odd that an Athletic Development and Sports Performance Enhancement Coach is writing about this stuff...but I have found it to be true that sports performance and what I am about to share with you ARE inextricably linked.
Your kids LONG to be unconditionally respected and loved by parents and coaches because of who they are, NOT how they look or what they do on the field or in the classroom (performance).
Do your kids feel unconditionally loved and respected by you? Do they feel pressure to impress? Do they feel like they have to perform better or look better for you to respect and love them better? If so, it’s actually leading to lower performance. These 4 Practical Tips plus an exclusive invite at the end are proven to help.
I’m not writing this to condemn, but rather to shine a spotlight on one of the biggest challenges in the “sports-parent to athlete relationship” nowadays. And if you are a coach, you need to read this and share with parents because THIS is keeping your athlete’s and team from thriving. Love-powered leadership is a movement you can be a part of by clicking here--> Join the Movement
In order to help your kids reach their full potential without sacrificing positive well-being, losing joy and passion, burning out, or resenting you or others who negatively affected their sports experience, here are 4 things you can start doing:
1. Use the 5:1 Compliment to Criticism Ratio.
In business leadership we use the 2:1 rule, minimum. It is usually more like 4:1.
Poor, ineffective leaders never think about giving compliments, they only point out the things the person did not do well.
Good leaders give 1 criticism for every 1 compliment.
AGAIN, poor, ineffective (meaning your current ways are not working) leaders point out problems and failures without intentionally giving praise and recognition. How are you doing as a sports parent here?
If you want to be a GREAT leader for your athlete, give them 3, 4, or more compliments and only give them your loving critique when they ask for it. Sports parents need to stop messing this up because it is leading to the Perfectionist Mentality. There is an infection of mind and heart that occurs when a person is never satisfied with their performance. It leads them down a road of perpetual dissatisfaction and ultimately, unhappiness.
Question, do you ever think about how your compliments or critiques are affecting your athlete? Can you recall how you were led as a teen, by your parents, coaches, or teachers? What about by your boss? Monkey see, monkey do. Don’t be a monkey, be a great leader.
2. Stop ALL advice before or after games (unless you’ve built the very rare parent-coach relationship where your child actually craves your coaching)
I know parents who remind their athlete of things before games. Sounds good, right? Wrong.
REMINDERS = OVERTHINKING
OVERTHINKING = POOR PERFORMANCE
Your athlete intuitively knows what to do. If you say ANYTHING, say this:
“You know what to do. You’re the athlete. I’m going to sit back and watch. Because I love watching you play.”
Sending your athlete motivational quotes throughout the day, pre-game reminders, etc. typically creates MORE pressure and in their mind, reveals perceived expectations you have for them. Love Powered Leadership does not do this.
Again, 1/20 parents do have that rare coach-kid relationship with their child. But my recommendation is you keep LIFE COACHING separate from SPORT COACHING. Life coaching is based on long-term success and joy in life, whereas coaching them for sport (when you are not their coach) is short-term and may show ulterior motives, selfish ambition on your part, vicarious living, etc. Not good for your athlete, not good!
Save your coaching for non-game days, non-competition weekends, non-final exam days, etc. There are already enough nerves going wild (which is good, nervousness is fuel), they do not need extra reasons from you to turn that nervousness into full blown anxiety and worry (getting in their head).
3. Ask for Feedback about YOUR “In The Stand Behaviors”, Observe Others Who Make You Sick, Then Commit To Quit
I ask athletes regularly, “How are your parents when they are in the stands watching you play?”
About 8/10 say, “Awful. I wish they would just stop. It never helps me, only embarrasses me and makes me overthink.”
Good advice. Just stop. Don’t yell.
The reason why you freak out from the stands is because you either love your kid so much that is pains you to see them underperform and/or get cheated by the coach or refs…
OR you are living vicariously through them (knowingly or unknowingly), YOU get embarrassed, or you take it personally when something undesirable happens in the game. You have expectations...and we all know expectations are cruel. You would never want them placed on you...
Either way, we have an infection of thought going on. Sports are games, they are not worth freaking out over. If this is you, stop and do some thinking about the kind of parent you truly want to be. Admired, loved, and respected by your athlete? Or overtly over-invested in outcomes?
4. Ask my team or I for feedback or guidance
We've identified a problem and an opportunity to help sports parents and coaches discover a new, proven way to set their athletes up for a life of greater confidence, joy, and success. There is no handbook (yet) for sports parenting. But we all need a coach to help us play the long game. To think long-term and to avoid immediate, impulsive, feeling and emotion based decisions.
Similar to Daniela and I reading baby books to learn about best practices to parent Jack, you are hopefully reading this to learn best practices to connect with, inspire, and be a better catalyst in helping your athlete reach their true potential on and off the field (something very few kids do in their lifetime).
In the same way a doctor or points out a problem not to condemn or criticize the patient, but rather to provide a solution to the problem, our team has been successful at helping sports parents and coaches with solutions to achieve the following:
1. Help athletes perform at their best without FEAR by helping parents to make minor changes in their sports-parenting approach
2. Restore positive communication and sports-relationships between parent/coach and athlete
3. Inspire athletes to want to give their best, opposed to being forced to. The key here is motivating natural ambition and drive.
4. Lower stress and pressure in the athlete’s mind while raising joy, poise, and enthusiasm
It’s funny because I have never been a sports parent. Up until two years ago I never thought of myself as a...Sports Parent Coach? But it just so happens that experience in not necessary. The principles of Love Powered Leadership that my team and I have discovered are the keys to unlocking true potential in athletes without sacrificing their happiness. They provide a foundation that helps kids to make better decisions for themselves. They lead athletes to want to be leaders, not followers. It is pretty cool that the principles work for anyone.
Thank you for all your support in our movement to inspire youth influences to provide a better way of leading athletes to the greatness that is inside them. We appreciate you. Now go out and take some action on the 4 keys above!
Coach Andrew Simpson
P.S. I am looking at holding an advanced workshop for just 15 Sports Parents and Coaches to share our New 5-Part Love-Powered Leadership Formula that we have developed over the past 5 years. A proven way to increase your influence and impact with your athlete(s), help them to overcome fear, doubt, and worry, and new ways to motivate and inspire them to TRULY be the best they can be. Everything rises and falls on leadership. Parents and coaches have the power to alter the mental, emotional, and physical state of their athletes and PUT THEM ON the path to massive success and peak performance. Do you want in?