The game is over, the players shake hands, and you watch on as your child’s coach begins to deliver a few post-game words of wisdom. The walk to the car is paved with good intentions, as it always is.
Hopefully, you are off to a good start and you let your kid carry their own gear. As you approach the car, take a deep breath and remember it is now time for your defining moment of game day!
As you start the ignition, take note of the temperature of the car and remind yourself that what you say (or do not say) matters. Ask any kid who has suited up for competition what the most difficult aspect of sport has been for them, and you’re sure to get more than a handful of responses that detail the dreaded car ride home with Mom and Dad. Regardless of the outcome of competition day, take note of what to avoid in the wake of a youth sporting event.
As you navigate through the post-game car ride, remember that after competing your child is likely physically and emotionally tired, could be experiencing frustration or disappointment, and is just learning how to respond to failure and success.
A young athlete doesn’t need to hear your opinions and thoughts that rehash their decisions and performance, nor that of their teammates and coaches. What you say may cause your child undue stress, pressure, and the association that their performance directly correlates with how proud you are of them.
So perhaps try just listening, or saying nothing at all. If you do choose to strike up a conversation, the sure fire way to make your kid feel great is simple. Tell them you loved watching them play.
Infographics used with permission of the BelievePerform Shop.