2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-07-31 02:08
A survey, developed by two former coaches, asked hundreds of college athletes the following question: What is your worst memory of sports activities from your youth?
The vast majority answered: The way home with my parents after a game
I have amazing memories of my years in the sport. The glories of victory, the bitterness of defeat, the blue puppies slush after games, and the friendships that have survived long after retirement.
The richness of this experience is largely thanks to my parents who have supported me throughout my journey. I never felt any pressure to perform for anyone other than myself. I always knew I could change sports or quit competitive if I wanted to.
They never blamed me for the many sacrifices of time and money they made for me. But above all, I always felt how much they loved coming to see me play.
And the other day I came across an article titled: the 6 most important words a parent can say to their child who plays sports. Athletes from the same survey mentioned at the beginningarticles also answered the following question: What words did your parents say to you that most amplified your pleasure during, before and after a game?
The vast majority answered this: I love coming to watch you play
As simple as that. No more, no less. No fancy words or popular expressions from the latest positive parenting book. No reviews or comments about the game.
We have all experienced this moment when we are told that we played well even though we know very well that it was quite the opposite. And we have all received negative comments after a bad performance. Your child knows this if he has played poorly and feels bad. So do we really need to add more?
The authors of the study offer this advice. If your teen wants to talk to you about the game or their performance, let them initiate the conversation. Otherwise, refrain from talking about the game.
Another interesting aspect of the study: Young athletes seem to really appreciate the presence of grandparents at their games.
Partly because grandparents are content with the pleasure of seeing their grandchildren evolve in sport.
And more often than not, they end up saying:
“I love coming to watch you play.” Without adding anything more.
What is our role as parents of athletes?
It's not to "boost" their self-esteem with "you're the best". Nor to criticize them on their game. Leave that to the coach.
I believe ourrole is to be there as often as possible, as Patrick Legacé wrote, to support them in their challenges and to remind them as often as possible of these 6 magic words:
“I love coming to watch you play.”
If we put this simple advice into practice, we will help develop a more balanced generation of athletes at all levels. Children who will keep the pleasure of physical activity well beyond their retirement from competitive sport.
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