Daniel Coyle recently posted an article on his web site that I’d like to recommend every parent ( and coach ) read. I haven’t met a parent yet who didn’t want to do right by their kid even when they’re behaving badly ( the parent that is not the kid). Whether it’s taking to our kids about their sport or trying to be a fan in stands it can be a challenge. I know I certainly made my share of bad moves as a parent. Coyle sights work by Rob Miller and Bruce E. Brown who run and organization called ProActive Coaching LLC. For nearly thirty years Brown and Miller have been asking college athletes about the ways parents have made positive or negative impacts on their experience. According to the article two things stood out.
1. The conversations on the way home. Well meaning perhaps but, they often slide into evaluation, questions, sometimes instruction and even well meaning praise. It’s not the right time and it’s not the right role for parents. Each of those things create a kind of pressure that usually leads to a negative experience.
2. The six words every parent should know. So, what does a parent do or say? According to the players Brown and Miller talked to it was this simple phrase, ” I love to watch you play.” Those six word change everything. With those six words we go from being judge, evaluator, scout, coach, to being the one thing that no one else can be – a supportive, loving parent – the kind of presence that I as a coach can’t bring to a kid.
Ponder those words this weekend and read Dan Coyle’s blog post. Then check out the link here or on the bottom of his page to read what happened when one parent tried it. See if it doesn’t make a difference.