Why Your Patience Helps Your Child Become a Better Athlete

By Janis Meredith | Posted 4/9/2020

One of the core values of USA Football’s new Football Development Model is a focus on physical literacy and skill development.

The basics are the basics for a reason. We will teach fundamental movements and techniques as a foundation at each stage. This will help players develop at their own pace and build advanced skills effectively.

 It takes patience to watch a child learn fundamentals and develop at a different pace than their peers. As parents, we all want to see our kids succeed. However, impatience with young athletes will hurt that process.

What does your patience as a parent say to your child as they are in the process of learning and growing? It says:

I love you. If your child picks up any indication from your words or behaviors that you are impatient with their progress, then it’s also easy for them to assume that your love is conditional, based on their progress and performance.

I believe in you. Being patient does not mean that parents don’t challenge their kids or push them a little, but it does mean that you give positive encouragement that says to your child, “You’ve got this! I know you can do it!”

It’s okay for you to make mistakes, as long as you are trying. Give your child permission to make mistakes and to learn from them. Athletes who live in fear that they will be punished for making an error, are more likely to make one, or two, or even tank in the game.

I want you to have fun. Aside from all the good things that youth sports offer kids, it should always be fun. Their love for the game will keep them playing for many years.

I love watching you grow at your own pace. When you watch your child play, don’t compare them to others on the team or to siblings. Appreciate each little step of progress they are making.

Perhaps the reason that many parents grow impatient with their children’s progress is that they are so eager to see them succeed and shine. I know how easy it is to get frustrated watching your child play and wishing they would try harder or look like they are taking the game more seriously.

Remember the bosses you had that were impatient with you? Did they motivate you to try harder or learn quicker? Probably not. Patience makes a much better teacher than impatience. Parents who are willing to let kids develop at their own pace will not only enjoy the game more because they’ve relaxed, but they will see the joy in their child.

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