Youth Sports: Main Ideas (from Email Offering Advice and Thanks to Parents and Coaches)
- Coaching youth sports can feel thankless, but it is a unique opportunity to impact kids positively and enduringly
- Acknowledge to the kids, parents and self that it hurts to lose
- Try to balance against the hurt and upset by being positive, light, playful and humorous
- Give props for effort above all else (growth mindset)
- Some of the most important aspects of youth sports for the kids
- Having fun
- Being active
- Learning to play as a team
- Working at a skill
- Becoming self-motivated
- Building self esteem
- Establishing independence
- Positive things to say to your child
- “I love to watch you play”
- “I’m proud of you for all of the hard work you put in this season”
Youth Sports: Detailed Version (of Email Offering Advice and Thanks to Parents and Coaches)
A bit of self disclosure. I coach youth sports (my sons’ indoor soccer team) and we just lost in the semifinals. It was a bummer for sure. Some kids, parents and coaches take a loss harder than others.
It was important to me to give the parents some reassurance and to help them and myself keep things in perspective. So, I sent the following email out to the kids’ parents with some of my thoughts and feelings from the season.
I know some of you and your boys might be bummed that we aren’t playing for the championship. That last team was solid, so we should be proud of our boys for showing up and taking it down to the wire. A couple of bounces our way and we walk out with a W. So it goes in sports and life.
Little B was definitely upset about not being tall enough or having enough hops to save those long range kickoff shots from half field. Shrewd coaching by the Panthers. They savagely capitalized on an indefensible weakness that we could not rectify.
Regardless of the result, I wanted to let you all know how much I’ve enjoyed coaching your boys this winter season. It’s my first time coaching youth soccer in about 25 years, and first time coaching my sons in soccer. So, it’s definitely been a learning experience for me.
I’ve been really impressed by how hard your boys have played. It’s easy for us coaches and parents to watch from the sidelines and holler at them. Run, get the ball, score, pass, shoot, etc. But, we’re not the ones working our tails off playing the game, trying to learn and having fun while still getting victories when possible. Kudos to all of your kids for their efforts!
The key to supporting your kids at this age is to boost them up. Ideally, allow them to enjoy the sport so that they become self-motivated. This will help them want to continue playing, improving, socializing. Hopefully, building self esteem in the process. Telling your son “I love to watch you play” or something along those lines is often the best thing you can say (and hopefully feel).
As a competitive person, ex-athlete, dad, coach, child psychiatrist, I often forget this. So, it’s a reminder to myself as well. It’s a good thing to keep in mind for your kid’s long term development…and for our own sanity as parents. Lol.
So far, I haven’t heard back from any of the parents yet and don’t see the kids until our final game for 3rd place later this week. We’re playing a tough team. Hopefully, we get a win for the kids. Either way, I’m going to do my best to end the season with our chins held high, some laughs, and instilling excitement to do it again next season.