5 Things Your Young Athlete Doesn’t Need to Know

By Janis Meredith | Posted 12/30/2019

There are times in parenting when keeping quiet becomes the wisest thing to do. This is especially true if your child is an athlete and you find yourself in the up and down roller coaster world of youth sports.

There’s a lot of good things you should be saying to your kids before, during and after the games, but I’d like to help you steer clear of the things you should NOT say, even if you are thinking them.

Your doubts. Are they going to make the team? Be a starter? Get playing time? Get any better at the sport? Your child will know soon enough whether they can achieve their goals; no need to be the naysaying voice in their head.

Your nervousness. I can’t tell you how many times I was very nervous before my kids’ games. It was nerves born out of the fact that I wanted them to do well and to be happy with their own performance. But as the saying goes, I never let them see me sweat. I knew they were dealing with their own nerves and didn’t need mine added to their plate.

Your worries about injuries. Saying “be careful” or “don’t get hurt” are typical mom-isms—-they are said because it makes us feel better, but in reality, the words hold little weight. Reminding kids of the risks of playing sports will only cause them to be over-anxious or maybe even hold back because of the fears you’ve planted in their heads. If they are being coached correctly, they know how to play safe.

Your dislike of the coach. If you are having issues with the coach—perhaps you don’t like his game strategy or how he positions and plays his team—don’t dump your concerns on your child. If your child comes home complaining, don’t join in on the rant. Your child needs to relate to the coach without hearing your prejudicial remarks. Your negativity clouds their perspective.

Your frustration with teammates. When your child plays on a team with selfish or “incompetent" athletes, there’s no need for you to point that out to them or even add fuel to their fire if they are already upset about it. Listen to them vent, try to coach them through the issue, and don't diminish their frustration.

Your kids learn a lot of skills as they play sports. But there one skill that you as a sports parent should learn: the art of biting your tongue. It will save you a lot of unnecessary conflict and tension in your home.

Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.