Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Ruining Our Children Through Sports

Photo Credit: USAG-Humphreys
I read the following headline in our local newspaper this morning:
Intrigued, I read the article.

It seems that a man who was watching his daughter play made a comment about a disagreeable referee's call. The father of a girl on the opposing team told him to "shut up."

The first man called the second man an "idiot" and the second man dared him to "call him an idiot again." The first man accepted the dare and called the other man an idiot for a second time, and the two started wrestling in the gym and punches were thrown. The men continued to fight until someone in the stands pulled them apart.

As a coach of youth sports for many years and a parent of multiple children that have played a number of sports, I know all too well what can happen when the competitive juices get flowing.

Of course most parents simply want to provide an opportunity for their children to play with friends, learn a sport and have fun while getting a little exercise.

But there are some parents that choose to live out their unfulfilled athletic fantasies through their children and put an unbelievable amount of pressure on kids, coaches and referees in order to try to make things go their way.

This article by Ed Uszynski with Athletes in Action offers 8 behaviors that can destroy our children through sports. Ed says this:
"In more than 25 years of listening to athletes from youth to professional levels process their experience of sports, I’ve learned that these parental behaviors can be counted on not only to ruin their experience of play, but also to create multi-layered psychological and spiritual maladies that stick throughout life."
Athletics can be a wonderful part of the life of a child but it can also be a dreaded experience due to poor parenting and coaching.

As a coach, I realize that most players I coach probably won't go very far in their athletic career. Although I have had a few players that have played at the collegiate Division 1 level, most won't advance past their middle school or high school teams when it comes to competitive athletics.

My hope is as my former players grow into adulthood that they will be able to look back upon their experiences in competitive athletics as children and think to themselves, "That was fun. I'm glad I was able to do that. Those were good times."

For my own children that I've coached, my desire for them is that they will have fond memories of having their dad as a coach. It's not always easy, but keeping the end in mind helps a great deal.

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