In parts 1 and 2 of our series “How We Can Help Our Kids Finish Well” we looked at the importance of being an encourager and the value of minimizing the pressure. In part 3 we are going to look at why we should Avoid Negativity.
Part 3: Avoid Negativity
I often see small groups of parents circled up at volleyball tournaments discussing everything they would have done differently. If I am honest, I have been caught in these conversations. As a former coach, I have been the centerpiece of those conversations. The game or tournament is over and parents circle up to critique all that could have been better. We analyze and start forming stories of why our kid isn’t getting the opportunity they deserve or why the team isn’t performing as they should.
As a current parent and former Division, I head coach I can tell you I have a lot more answers from sitting in the bleachers than I ever did standing on the court or sidelines. I get to make critiques after the play rather than having to call the play. Of course, I know what would have worked now.
One of the greatest ways to help your child end the season well is to run (literally run) from the negativity. It doesn’t do any good, ever! A good friend once told me, “there is no value in venting”. After an event everyone is emotional and we have to be disciplined to focus on what truly matters. Our kids don’t want to hear it, the coach doesn’t want to hear it, and we need to avoid it.
Here are 3 ways to avoid negativity:
- Walk Away: You know who they are and you can usually see them coming. Just walk away (run if they are coming quickly). I have taken many bathroom breaks to avoid conversations. I realize it’s just not going to be productive and my child is better off by me avoiding the situation.
- Change the Subject: Simply redirect the conversation to a better place. If you can’t do it, refer back to #1, and walk away. What’s more damaging? Avoiding an adult or talking about someone else’s child or the coach.
- Celebrate Something Good: Thank an official, intentionally tell a player how impressed you were with their play, or remind another parent what a joy it is to watch their child play. Forcing ourselves into positive conversations helps us change our own negative attitudes. It also models for our children the importance of celebrating others.
If we want our kids to be part of a positive sports experience, it starts with us. If we want our kids to finish the season well, negativity will never help. Our kids are worth it and YOU can do this!
A Better Way