Now that I have your attention, clearly, I don’t mean this literally… So, you’re like EVERY other parent in the world… and I mean the world! I went to Belgium earlier this year and wow, parents also think the same way there. Nine times out of ten here’s your thought, “my child is better than the kid that gets all the playing time… why is that?” Well, let’s dive into that and give you some honest, unbiased clarity. Here are my Top 5 reasons why your child doesn’t get the minutes you think they deserve.
1. Academics – Let’s be completely honest and upfront here. If this isn’t first on you and your child’s priority list then why even discuss reasons 2-5? However, there are still way too many cases where a player shoots them self in the foot before they even touch the playing surface. Each team, school, state association, and collegiate organization has some form of academic requirements, that if they aren’t met will automatically eliminate any player from competing. This is a no brainer! Get it together!
2. Attitude – So many times “having a bad attitude” is misunderstood. We all know what a “bad attitude” looks like right? The player that gets subbed out the game and immediately goes to the end of the bench to pout and complain about why they got taken out. Or how about the player that just knows he’s better than everybody else and totally acts that way. He talks down to his teammates and acts like he is the reason the game was invented. Those are the clear cases of not great attitudes. But your child doesn’t act like that right? Well, what about the less obvious “bad attitudes?” What about the players that subliminally create conflict throughout the team, the players that secretly talk about coach and how bad they are (most often stemmed from a conversation that started at home), or the player that just doesn’t work as hard as they should for whatever reason? Honestly assess these possibilities with your child and see if they are applicable.
3. Ability – Your child has good grades and a good attitude and still isn’t playing… well, let me explain it to you this way. GOOD PLAYERS DON’T PLAY FOR PLAYING REASONS! Simply put, if your player has good grades and a good attitude, chances are you need to consider their ability. This is very difficult because now we start to dig into areas that require some serious truth sessions. Hey, it’s ok! Every player isn’t going to have the physical talent to be the star or even a background star. But clearly, coach thought your child brought something to the team that they desired otherwise they would’ve been cut! Instead of fighting the system and questioning coaches every decision, how about embracing your child’s role, constantly speak about how they should be developing their leadership qualities and go with that…Try it! It will ease tension all the way around.
4. Them – Too many times we (meaning adults) never really take into consideration our own child’s mentality and mindset. We are too busy supporting, encouraging, cheering on, complaining or whatever we can find, that we get lost in our emotions and forget about theirs. Maybe your child has no real desire to play a lot of minutes. Maybe they just want the camaraderie of being around their friends on the team. Or maybe your player doesn’t truly understand what it takes to get better. Embrace that and help them understand if that’s what they want, it requires daily, purposeful improvement. Ultimately you can’t beat it into them because they’ll just resist and resent you. Show them, in a supportive, encouraging way and let them enjoy the ride!
5. YOU!! – OK… here we go! The best for last. This is by far the most important reason. YOU!! I’ve seen parents of all ages, ethnicities, social demographics, and genders be the reason your child isn’t playing like you think they should. First things first, THIS IS YOUR CHILD’S ATHLETIC CAREER, NOT YOURS!!! Geez, if I see another parent live vicariously through their child I’m gonna lose it! As stated before, you cannot MAKE your child love the game like you do or work as hard as you worked. That approach is actually much more destructive than helpful. Let your child live. Talk to them, LISTEN to them, show them what hard work looks like from a place of love and support instead of yelling and questioning why they just don’t get it. WINNING IS NOT EVERYTHING, especially before high school. No one cares if your child won the 5th grade championship during their junior year in high school. Concentrate on development not winning! There is a stat that 70% of young athletes that start sports at age 6 quit by age 13! Why? YOU! “The ride home,” the questions you ask, the statements you make. Their mentality becomes making sure they don’t disappoint you rather than what it should be, HAVE FUN, LEARN and GROW! Here’s the shocking part, from my experience it’s Mom who is the one that usually falls into this category! Dad’s you don’t get off the hook though, because we all know you can be over the top as well. And if you’re reading this saying, “he’s not talking about me,” YOU ARE EXACTLY who I’m talking to! Take a step back, be a parent, love your child for who they are, not who YOU want them to be!
In summary, grades and attitude are usually easy to understand and apply. Ability, understanding your child’s objectives, and you looking in the mirror are the more difficult areas. All it takes though is some honesty, maturity and looking at the big picture. I was asked recently “what breaks my heart?” My answer is very clear. What breaks my heart is the fact that we have created such a pressure and tension filled environment throughout youth athletics that we are making young athletes hate the game before they ever get a chance to love it! Let your child fall in love with game the way I did, organically, by having fun and seeing the fruit of hard work pay off, by developing confidence along the way because they see themselves improving. WE ARE TEARING DOWN OUR YOUNG PEOPLE WITH SOMETHING THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN AND ENJOYABLE! It’s on us to do better! Peace!
#DEWYOU #PURPOSE #itsallaboutthewhY #ELEVATEthegame #beEXTRAordinary #IYOUWE #TheLAB