Podcast EP #25

The Winning Parent in Sports Today. I’m going to talk a little bit about something that we don’t really hear and discuss too much about, and that’s how parents can help their student.

A lot of times we talk about this. What’s one person that’s constantly at the game, and that’s usually the parents, if it’s one or two or both, and sometimes that puts on undue stress that maybe your son or daughter will not tell you.

So the first person I want you to ask is your son or daughter. And the question I want them to ask and want you to ask them in an honest way, because they’re going to say, “Yes, I want you there,” because they don’t want to hurt your feelings, but ask them in a very honest way. “Do you feel extra pressure when I’m there? Do you feel extra anxiety when I’m there? Is there performance anxiety? Is your thoughts, yeah, you looking in the stands? Are you looking for approval?”

And have them be honest with you? If they say yes, then parents don’t take it personal. You can show up at the game, but maybe go somewhere that they don’t see you, and they don’t know you’re going. That’s something that I first addressed with my clients and my parents. And I know they they’d look at me and like, “I want to go, I want to go.” I get that, but are you doing this best for you? Or you go into the game for your child? And you got to understand sometimes the child at the beginning eight stages until they learn properly how to channel these emotions and anxieties and thoughts, that sometimes you being there puts extra pressure on them. So that’s the first question I want you to ask your son or daughter.

The second thing I want you to do is I want you to make sure you’re not living your life through your child. And this is where a lot of parents have a hard time. They maybe didn’t achieve what they wanted to, or maybe they were very successful, and they expect their child to be the same way, or they want more from their child because they didn’t accomplish what they wanted to. So they lived their life through their child. And I see this a lot. This is a problem because this creates undue pressure, stresses, and it takes away from the fun of the game. This message I’m talking about right now might not pertain to all parents. So the ones that are doing this properly and correctly, then kudos to you guys, but I’m going to tell you, at least 80% of the parents out there that I’ve witnessed could definitely use some of the things I’m going to be talking about here. So some of those that don’t pertain to you guys, please excuse this message because I give you guys kudos, but for the ones that do need this, please listen to what I’m saying, because this is very important.

It’s living your life through your child and it’s not letting your child live their own life. They’re their own person. Even though they are a lifeblood of you, they have your genes, it doesn’t mean they’re going to be exactly the way you want them to be or ask them to be. And sometimes it’s a bad thing. It’s a hard thing to do as a parent to see your child, maybe not making the right decisions or not performing in a sport like they should be. And I get that. As a parent, guys, I want you guys to understand that they’re their own child. Let them play at their level. If they’re not good, they’re not good. If they want to do better, you support them with that. You have to make sure you’re not living your life through your child. That’s very important.

Another thing I want to talk about is how you speak to your child after a game, because after a cup loss, sometimes the best thing to do, and you can ask your child this, son or daughter, is that you don’t want to say anything. Just don’t even bring up the game. If it’s a tough performance on their side individually or as a team, and every child is different, so you have to read your child and know your child. But most personalities, and if you get off the field right after a tough loss, they’re not going to be too happy. So I want you just to kind of change the subject and talk about something totally different and maybe award your child when they don’t do well or award them, the team, hopefully the coach does this when they don’t do well. Teach them what they need to do, but let them realize, you know what, there’s no failure. Failure is only when you don’t learn to adapt or change or learn from your lessons. That’s what failure is, but it’s not about losing and it’s not about failing at the plate. It’s not about not performing.

So if you guys can instill that at a young age, after the games, and knowing how to speak to your child, knowing what to say to your child, that’s huge. That is huge. And when they do well, the same thing, you play it down. You’re not saying, [inaudible 00:05:00] you just act the same. You have to be level if we expect our child’s performance and attitude to be level, and that’s the key is consistency. You don’t want to go high or too low. And that comes from you guys that they look up to you. They follow what you do. They pick up on things that you do. And this has to happen as really eight, nine years old. If it hasn’t, and they’re getting older, obviously it can happen, it can change, but it’s going to be a lot harder.

So these are the things I want you guys to really address. And when we’re talking about winning parents, this is where parents have to put their best interest to the side and make sure that the kid is a forefront of what they’re trying to accomplish here. So that’s so important.

And the final thing I want to talk about is coaching your child during games. I see this a lot too. I think it’s one of the worst things you can do in baseball. I’m going to relate baseball here because I’m not too familiar with other sports when we’re talking about coaching during games, but I’m talking about specifically, when a kid is out in the field and the kid’s at the plate or he’s pitching, and they’re making a mistake or they’re doing something wrong, and their coach is a yelling verbal commands to these players out there.

Well, you know how much is going through their mind at the point? You know how much stress they’re dealing with right there? Their anxiety they’re dealing with, the pressures, and you’re throwing more at them when you’re telling them what they’re doing right or wrong.

What I would highly recommend, if it’s a parent or a coach, is to write stuff down during a game and you can discuss this maybe the next day, because it’s a tough loss right after the game. It might not be the right opportunity and might not be the right appropriate time. But you could address this depending on the outcome of the game, either a little after the game, or you can discuss this at the next practice or the next day if it’s your child.

These are things that you need to make sure you watch, because I see it all the time. It’s called like backseat driving. Well, it’s called fence coaching. Just stay away. Just watch the game. Write notes down if you have to and then address them the next day. Don’t be throwing and yelling things out at these kids. These kids are so scared. Half of them are scared out of their pants, and they’re playing, and they’re trying to make you happy. They’re trying to do well. They have people in front of them. They have all this is, if you’re younger, everything is new to them. If they’re more advanced, I’m sure they’re going to be hard on themselves. They don’t need to be hearing you yelling at them during a game.

So I like to say this as a baseball player and a baseball coach and a baseball parent, the game, especially baseball with this message, the game will beat you up. We don’t need coaches, we don’t need parents, we don’t need teammates to beat them up. The game will do it for them. So we need you guys, parents, to be their cheerleader. And one of the things they need to do is they don’t need to be taught during a game what they’re doing right or what they’re doing wrong. It’s just going to enhance the issue.

So those are some of the things I want you guys just to think about as parents and coaches that are listening to this, as it relates to you guys as well. [inaudible 00:08:16] clients, with my parents, when I feel necessary because a lot of times, you guys, don’t take it personal, but you guys are the problem. It’s not the kids.

Post By: Rick Saggese, XFS, CSAC