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Parents will call strength and conditioning coaches and inquire what they’re doing about their child’s torn ligament. After all, no one has more at stake than the parent of a performer. I know a mother who watches her collegiate daughter’s gymnastics practice behind the glass, all the while, calling and leaving voicemails for the coach on what should be done for her little girl. Far too often, I wanted to play a role that added more stress to their life.
They love their child, they’ve invested in their child and they want to see a “return on their investment.” Some athletes refer to their mom as their P. I even know sets of parents who moved into a condo across the street from their freshman athlete’s university. What we parents may not recognize is the pressure and angst this kind of involvement applies.
They didn’t want to miss a thing, and they certainly didn’t want to neglect to provide direction. May I tell you what student-athletes are telling me? What We Should Say When Our Kids Perform The most liberating words parents can speak to their student-athletes are quite simple.
Moving From Supervisor to Consultant According to years of research on athletes, I believe parents have a more productive impact on their kids by making a change in their style. So we initiated them on that bike with training wheels. Eventually, however, we took the training wheels off, and our involvement became a tender balance of two ingredients: support and letting go. Based on psychological research, the three healthiest statements moms and dads can make as they perform are: Before the Competition: After the competition: Six Simple Words… They suggest six simple words parents can express that produce the most positive results in their performing children.
When our kids were younger, we played the role of supervisor. And we should be—they were young and needed our support. For years, I wondered what the student-athlete would say about this issue. After interacting with students, they report: College athletes were asked what their parents said that made them feel great, that amplified their joy during and after a ballgame.