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Jack Perconte

Coaching One's Own - The Fine Line

Coaching tips of the day 

There is a fine line between motivation and over-emphasis. You want to have your child excited and grateful for the opportunity to play youth sports, but not to the point where it means everything. And when I say means everything, I mean the parents. Parents tend to put unrealistic emphasis on their children playing well or make the child’s sports career more important to them than to their kids. With either scenario, that is a recipe for the end of their desire to play coming sooner than should be the case. Excess pressure on kids leads to adult-child tension and athletic burnout.

Every athlete is different and parents must observe their child’s body language and facial expressions to determine the effect of your emphasis. Two other tips to follow so young athletes do not lose desire prematurely:

  • Do not make everything on the day of games revolve around the athlete or the game. Emphasizing other events that day is essential. Kids need to know that their play is just one aspect of their day and their life. The games themselves will be enough to excite the players who enjoy the sport, so extra emphasis should be unnecessary.
  • Remind children to focus on the long-range goal of improvement. The pressure to play well every game will backfire.

These tips are especially necessary for the parents of the best players because it is easy to get caught up in their child’s potential “stardom.”