I started watching a deeply disturbing documentary on Netflix the other day called Trophy Kids. The documentary is about overzealous parents and the extreme lengths parents go to to push their children in sport. I turned it off half way through and did something more positive - the dishes.
I cringe in my seat at tennis tournaments and pennants when I hear parents yelling at their child from behind the fence. I know from personal experience how uplifting and energising it is to glance across and see a proud face and a nod of encouragement.
Parents have a huge role to play in shaping the Serena Williams or Roger Federer of tomorrow.
It upsets me when our Junior Rugby Club has to send out an email to all members reminding them that their Junior Rugby Competition is not the Rugby World Cup or when I hear on the News about parents who have abused referees, coaches, parents and or players during other sporting games.
How are our children going to become good sports and role models when they are constantly exposed to this type of behaviour?
In many junior sports, most of the coaches, referees or umpires are volunteers. They give up their own time to help teach your child the fundamentals of the sport.
A parents role is to support, guide, facilitate, motivate and encourage their children.
- Teaching them to respect the rules of the game, themselves, their coaches, referees and their opponents
- Transporting them to their training and games
- Teaching them what it means to be a good sport
- Being on the sidelines to support them and/or their team in their sport
- Ensuring they are having fun
- Encouraging them to always give 100%
If your child has the talent and more importantly the inner desire to be a professional athlete in their chosen sport, there are lots of sacrifices that child will need to make along the long road ahead. They need to ensure that they are doing this for themselves, not for their parents.
Remember, your childs success or lack of success in sports does not indicate the type of parent you are. But having an athlete that is coachable, respectable, a great teammate, mentally tough, resilient and who gives 100% is a direct reflection of your parenting.