There is no doubt that sports, and especially youth sports, have tremendous health and life benefits. Children are able to remain active and develop friendships while also learning many valuable life lessons.
The sport of lacrosse is growing, and parents of lacrosse players often have high expectations for their children. The competitive nature of the sport can lead to pressure and burnout.
Here are five tips to channel your high expectations and provide your child with the support he needs to take his game to the next level.
1. Have a Conversation
For most parents, it is natural to want to talk with your child about his performance. Often, parents will immediately launch into a review right after the game, pointing out what went right and what went wrong. This one-sided conversation hinders your child from taking ownership and prohibits him from thinking critically about his performance on her own. Instead, give your child some space after the game and later ask open-ended questions that encourage her to think about her performance. This tactic shows support while allowing enabling her to reflect on the game and adjust her performance accordingly.
2. Offer Praise
Children need to feel unconditional support, and this is especially true after a tough sporting event. Win or lose, it’s important that you offer your child some encouragement and credit for any successes. Make sure the praises you offer are specific and truthful so your child knows you’re sincere. You can still offer a critique, but make sure you are cushioning these criticisms in a constructive and supportive way.
3. Focus on the Effort
This tip is extremely important and allows your child to feel success after each and every game, regardless of the score. Effort is something your child can control and this should always be at the forefront of conversation. Focusing on effort rather than outcome will help your child feel calm, in control, and encouraged to work harder to meet his lacrosse goals. Athletes who focus on effort and show a positive attitude will always be successful and have increased confidence and self esteem.
4. Allow Downtime
While it may be tempting to have your child live and breath lacrosse, this is not a healthy dynamic and can lead to burnout. It’s important to encourage your child to pursue other activities and hobbies and to socialize outside of the lacrosse community. In the off-season you should also limit conversation about the sport and allow your child to be the first and only one to bring it up. This break reduces pressure and rejuvenates your child for the next season.
5. Model Good Behavior
As a parent and a fan, it is so easy to become deeply involved in your child’s athletics. Being a spectator, fan, and parent comes with the responsibility of encouraging good sportsmanship. If you are upset with the way your child’s athletics is being handled, instead of yelling negative comments during a game or calling the coach to complain, take a breathing period to collect your thoughts. If you still have issues after you’ve had time to process them, address your issues calmly with the coach as it’s always better than an angry discussion sparked by the intensity of competition. It is important to remember that showing good sportsmanship from the sideline and even from your home will positively affect your child’s experience.
These are just five of the many ways you can increase your child’s lifelong passion for the game of lacrosse. These strategies are effective in increasing confidence and propelling your child to seek competition at the next level.
This post was adapted from an article by Jessica Kane, a writer for SteelLocker Sports, which is a provider of sporting goods and training programs for coaches, players, parents, and institutions with a primary focus on youth sports. This article originally appeared on Sum It Up Lacrosse.