Anyone who has been to a sporting event involving children knows that parents can get out of control. We are living in a highly competitive world and a “win at any cost” attitude is visible when our kids participate in school sports and town sports.
It is also clear that many parents are living vicariously through their children and they are overly indentified with their kids. It is also apparent that moms, dads and coaches need to communicate with kids about sports in a supportive and positive manner.
My son is quite involved with baseball right now and I am trying to talk with him about his participation in a positive manner. I try to focus on what he enjoys, what he learns, the other kids, the coaches and the experience. I always ask him about the outcome and his performance last. I remain positive and supportive throughout our talks about sports. Perhaps these questions and my conversation with my boy will guide you as to how you might talk to your kids about their athletic endeavors.
Here is our phone conversation from last night-
Dad: Hi Zack, it’s dad.
Zack: Hi daddy.
Dad: How was your game?
Dad: Did you have a good time?
Dad: I hope you had some fun with the other kids.
Zack: I did.
Dad: What did you learn that was knew, interesting or fun for you tonight?
Zack: I learned that I have to blow on my hands to keep them warm while I pitch.
Dad: That’s a good idea. Anything else?
Zack: Dad, I pitched, I walked two guys, but no runs were scored over two innings.
Dad: Terrific. What did the coaches say?
Zack: They said good job! They brought me in after the starting pitcher beaned two kids.
Dad: How did the warm up go?
Dad: How did Steven do at the plate? He has been struggling lately.
Zack: He got a hit tonight.
Dad: How did the team do?
Zack: We tied 6-6 after being down 5-1.
Dad: Sounds like a great comeback and a great game.
Zack: It was a good game.
Dad: How did you do at the plate?
Zack: I went one for 3 with a walk and scored once. I struck out once too.
Dad: Nice job. Everyone strikes out-even Derek Jeter. In fact, major leaguers only get a hit about once every three or four trips to the plate.
Zack: Yeah that’s right. I never thought of it that way.
Dad: When is the next game?
Zack: Next week on Tuesday.
Dad: I am seeing patients on Tuesday night, so I can’t make it, but I will be thinking about you for sure.
Zach: Bye, daddy.
Dad: Good night son. I love you.
Zach: Love you daddy.
Jay P. Granat, Ph.D., is a Psychotherapist in Fort Lee, NJ. He lives in River Vale, NJ
with his wife and two children. Jay writes extensively on psychology, self-help, sports and business. He can be reached at info@stayinthezone.