Here are a few basic guidelines for parents in wake boarding or other sports that your child may compete in.
1. Sports need to be fun for kids. The primary goal is for a child to enjoy some healthy competition without the stress of a parent treating it like a business. Yes, parents spend money on a child’s coaching and this can effect a parents need to see results. Parents need to remember even if this is something that they would like to see as a career, its just good fun to young athletes.
2. Your own agenda is not your child’s. You might have a different agenda than your child so you need to recognize that this is your child’s sport not yours.
3. Focus on skill building and small challenges not trophies and awards. Think of skill building as accomplishing many small, well executed challenges. Even learning the smallest new skill can be very gratifying to young kids.
4. By all means stay cool at events. Children look to their parents and peers at sporting events and learn by example. Teach positive behavior and composure to your child, regardless of their performance or scoring. I have seen parents ruin it for their kids with negative behavior and arguing with judges.
5. Save the coaching for practice and just use encouragement during events. During a contest is the time to just “let them play” and put their skills to work. During the event is not the time to analyze their game.
After events make it a point to ask the right questions. If you ask “did you place” or “did you win” then you are putting the focus on results. This is telling the child that this is whats important. If you ask “did you have fun” then they will assume that having fun is important.
We all want to see the best results possible in sports for our children but, it is how we get there that dictates whether sports are a blessing or a burden in our relationship with our kids.