If you’re a parent like me, you only want the best for your kids. When they play a sport, we can’t wait to chime in with words of wisdom. I can think of many occasions when I encouraged, guided, complimented and tried to offer suggestions for improvement after watching my kids perform. Let’s face it, we all want the best for our kids and our parental instinct is to help, or so we think.
I recently read an article from an Australian newspaper that said the biggest thing that kids hate after their sport is the drive home with their parents. It’s the number one reason why they quit the sport they play. Wow. The constant reliving and overanalyzing of the game is turning our kids away, despite our best intentions.
Bruce E Brown and Rob Miller from Proactive Coaching LLC have done more research on what kids want from their sport parents than anyone. They asked college athletes what their parents said that made them feel great and encouraged them to play. The overwhelming response? These six words:
” I love to watch you play “
Those simple words really sum it up. As a golf coach, I have never heard a parent say that about their kid. Instead, I often get parents that analyze everything their child does. They have stats, swing videos, comparisons to the best in the world and advice on what they believe their child should be doing.
I often watch my children play sports just like you do and I’ve noticed them looking for me during the game. At times, they’re doing everything they can do get my attention and look for signs of my approval, so much so that they often take their focus away from what they’re doing. I have now realized myself that these words can set them free. They can just play and enjoy every second…and so can I.
Those six simple words might be the secret to your child’s life long passion. So next time you’re about to offer up another observation from the sidelines, step back and say ” I love to watch you play.”