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The Art of Responsible Sport Conversation: Parent & Athlete

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Once we recognize similarities and differences between our goals and our children's goals, we can better dadandsonshape conversations with our children. As Responsible Sports Parents, we have to remind ourselves that our main goal is to help our children learn and apply life lessons.
As much as you, your children and their coaches want to win games -- only the players and coaches are ultimately responsible for winning. As fans and parents, our job is to make sure our children use their youth sports experience to grow into successful adults. If we become overly focused on winning, we are likely to miss opportunities to play this important role with our kids (and with other kids on the team).

Within that context, consider the following scenario, and remember, there are no "right" answers… only food for thought and a chance to educate and learn from your fellow sports parents:
What Would You Say?
Your son comes up to bat with two outs in the bottom of the last inning, with the tying and winning runs in scoring position. He strikes out, ending the game in a loss for his team. What do you say to your child on the way home?

    "Something similar happened to my son, and the one thing I learned was that my immediate reaction was most important. I didn't know how badly I messed up until my son told me that right after he struck out, he looked over at me and saw me shaking my head, face down. He thought he'd let me down, and we had to talk it out. I think I eventually reassured him, but one thing I would say about this is to remember the importance of body language."

    - Rob, parent of 14-yr-old, Vancouver, WA

    "I wouldn't say anything about his at-bat until he brings it up. I'd congratulate him on a good game, and a strong attempt to come back. If he brings it up, I'd tell him it's not the end of the world. Everyone makes mistakes and that's how we learn."

    - Margaret, parent of kids 9 and 11, Hartford, CT

    "Sooner or later you need to get him to correct his swing. Right after the game may not be the best time. He's probably really hurting. But you want to help him avoid the same outcome next time."

    - Willy, parent of kids ages 8 and 15, Salem, VA

    "Depending on how upset he seems, I might reassure him that we love him, that there is a lot more to him than just being a baseball player. Yeah, it's tough, but that at bat is not the most important thing in the world."

    - Amanda, parent of 11-yr-old, Tallahassee, FL

    "We always stop for ice cream after the game, and I think it's important to maintain that routine, win or lose, no matter the circumstances. Hopefully my son would want to talk with me about it, but if not, I would not push it."

    - Brandon, parent of kids ages 5, 8 and 15, St. Louis, MO

There are no "right answers" and no one single way to approach tough situations like these in youth sports. But as you continue to read here, we hope you'll find tools and resources to help make conversations like these easier and more productive for both you and your child.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, November 03 2010 00:22 )