How do we know if we are pushing our young athletes too hard?
Here are a few negative things that parents sometimes do which can damper their child’s enjoyment in playing competitive sports:
Project their own athletic dreams onto their child so it becomes about the parent's success instead of their child's.
Emphasize winning over having fun.
Show more of an interest in the sport than their child.
Yell obnoxiously from the sidelines as their child competes.
Push them to do extra training and practicing when their child doesn’t want to do this.
Grill their child after the game about their performance.
Force their child to play even when they are hurt.
Ignore signs of emotional strain such as their child experiencing headaches, stomachaches or fatigue related to the sport or not wanting to attend practices and games.
Playing team sports teaches kids about teamwork, hard work and other great lessons that can all be erased if adults are too focused on the score and winning.
Parents who recognize how their own competitiveness negatively affects their son or daughter can improve their relationship with them by role modeling positive sportsmanship. When kids see that their parents support them unconditionally whether they win or lose, then they will continue to enjoy competing in a healthy way.