And Help Solve the Youth Sports’ Parent Problem.
My son scored on his own soccer goal this past season. More than once.
He’d get turned around at midfield and dribble the wrong way until he put it into his own net.
Each time, he was thrilled. And I was mortified.
He didn’t mind that he scored a goal for the other team. He is, after all, five years old and they don’t keep score.
His teammates didn’t mind. They congratulated him.
His coach took it in stride. He complimented his dribbling and gently reminded him to dribble the other way next time.
No one seemed to be upset but me.
So why did I care? Why was I letting this ruin my time watching him play and have fun?
And what impact was my behavior having on his interest in sports?
The Downside of Parental Involvement
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” — George Bernard Shaw
I was a terrible baseball player as a kid. My fielding was poor. My hitting was worse. My skills earned me a permanent right field position.
But I loved to play. I looked forward to the anticipation of each play. I enjoyed the fact that I was (slowly) getting better. Mainly, I just loved being out there with my friends.
Yet there was one thing I hated. I absolutely hated the car ride home. It was a torturous time in which I heard about every mistake I made and received a detailed critique on exactly what I should have done.
The benefits of playing couldn’t overcome that dreaded car ride home.
So I quit. I hung up my cleats and would only pick up my glove thereafter for random games at the park. I was seven years old.
I took up soccer and hockey instead. Neither of my parents had a clue about these sports so I was safe to actually learn the game before the “expert” critiques started again.