16 Words for Dads: Week 5

Week 5:

Never let your child hear your voice when they are playing organized team sports. Never.

Okay, I know this one is going to get me in some trouble with some parents. Please let me elaborate.

I have been in organized sports for most of the past 40 years. As a player, coach, referee, fan, and most recently, parent, I have developed a pretty good sense of the games and the people who play and watch them. The stress that pervades throughout the ballfields and courts of America is getting worse not better. The level of importance we parents are placing on every at bat, every free throw, and every tackle is going beyond the pale. Parents are yelling more because they are vicariously living and dying with every play.

You may say, “I’m only yelling positive things.” Yes, but when your child hears your voice, they focus on it. They are reminded that you are there watching their every move, counting on them, ready to clap for them. You may think this is good. It isn’t. They need to concentrate on the game. If they are thinking about you and what you are yelling, what you are thinking, are you proud of them… they cannot concentrate. You want them to forget that you’re there. Let them hear the other parents. The din of the crowd, the cheers, laughter, clapping. Mostly, let them hear their coaches, because it is their advice that counts – not yours.

This is a tough one, I realize. Many parents just want to cheer on their kids. You can do that without getting up in their heads. Clap when they make a good play, cheer along with the rest of the crowd when they hit that home run, etc. Just stop with the instructions and little tips. Stop with the “Let’s go Jason…!” Little Jason doesn’t want your advice right now. He needs to get his head in the game.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “16 Words for Dads: Week 5

  1. Absolutely agree. As a coach for 20 years (at the same high school Michael used to coach at by the way) I wholeheartedly concur. You can have success in a team situation without unity, and you can’t build unity when the team’s ears are all over the place instead of on the coach.

  2. All TRUE!!!! Finally a voice of reason amidst the constant yelling, coaching, etc..of every parent who IS living vicariously through their child. I say take up your own team sport!

  3. Amen, brother! I love what Colleen said about removing the responsibility of pleasing the parent. That is a very disturbing cycle for a kid to be “in charge” of someone’s happiness. I often wonder whose needs are being met? It’s easy to go with the reasoning “but he likes it” to justify the adult behavior. Guess what-not everything a kid “likes” is beneficial to him.

  4. DARN! I had a concise comment all typed out here and suddenly it vanished! ugh. I will try again. This is interesting (although no comments yet,..ha). I have always had this feeling too (maybe because as a kid I may have felt nervous with the cheering?). I can tell which of my kids sort of thrive on the ‘cheering on’, but overall I think I would agree and typically I don’t yell out much when my kids are playing (although I have heard other parents say that their children like it/want it?). I also think many kids sometimes get nervous when their team mates are cheering them on (adds pressure), but not sure you can avoid that one? I heard something interesting recently, that when encouraging our kids about anything, sports or otherwise, we should shift our words from a ‘good job’ or a ‘that’s great’, to a ‘wow, you worked really hard for that,..you should be proud of that…or you deserve it for the work you put into it’. This removes the ‘responsibility’ of pleasing us, the parents and instead puts it back on them being in control of what benefits they receive for the hard work they put in. Not sure this makes a lot of sense (I think my last write up summed up my thoughts better! lol).