How You Can Help Your Young Athlete Fight the Playing Time Battle

There reaches a point in youth sports when equal playing time is no longer assumed. Once kids reach the age where playing time is not automatic, the fight will ensue in every sport, every season, on every team.

Talent does not guarantee playing time, and vice versa; if your young athlete feels like he or she is less skilled than fellow teammates, sitting on the bench all season is still not a foregone conclusion.

Has your child faced a playing time challenge yet? If so, here’s some ways that you can help them fight:

Little Things Count

There is not just one thing your young athlete can do to make progress in this fight. There are many things he or she can do. The little things will add up to be a big thing. If your young athlete starts doing the little things consistently, don’t be surprised if someday, the coach looks at your young athlete and thinks, “I really want that kid on the court or field.”

Your young athlete may think the little things are insignificant, but they aren’t. The coach is watching, even if your young athlete feels invisible.

Coachability is Noticed

Coaches love kids who listen and follow instructions. If your young athlete is serious about improving and getting more time, he or she must be willing to do what the coach asks and even go the extra mile by staying after practice to work on weak areas.

I’ve seen my daughter stay after volleyball practice as the coach suggested so he could hit balls to her. I’ve seen my son stay after football practice and throw extra passes, and I’ve seen my softball daughter spend extra time in the batting cages. Each one was fighting the playing time battle by doing what their coach asked of them and looking for ways to improve on their own time.

Leadership is Appreciated

Often when your young athlete is neck-and-neck with a teammate, one thing that could give the edge is leadership. Not bossiness, mind you, but a willingness to speak up by helping and encouraging, as well as leading by example. We always told our kids to be someone that the coach did not want to take off the field or court. Someone who made a difference when they were playing. Often that difference was in their leadership.

Team Players are Valuable

Coaches don’t like to hear kids complain about their playing time. But more than that, they love kids who are willing to do what is best for the team, whether it’s passing the ball to a better shooter or giving their position to a better player and playing another spot.

Consistency is Rewarded

Coaches look for athletes that they can depend on to do their job. Help your young athlete see that he or she doesn’t need to be the hero, the home-run hitter, the star. The best young athletes play their position and do their job to the best of their ability every time.

Sometimes the playing time battle is not fair, even if your young athlete is doing all the right things. Unfortunately, politics sometimes muddies the picture. But your young athlete will know that she has given it her best shot. Hopefully, that dedication will reward her with the game time she’s worked for.

Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called jbmthinks.com. Her new book, 11 Habits for Happy and Positive Sports Parents, is on Amazon.

This article first appeared on the Team Snap Blog. Read Original

The post How You Can Help Your Young Athlete Fight the Playing Time Battle appeared first on NEXT PLAY.

5 Questions to Ask Your Young Athlete’s Coach Before You Commit

You’ve done your research and you’ve decided to get your young ballplayer into youth baseball. You’ve checked with friends around town, so you know about the local programs and what they offer. But have you covered all the bases? Here are five questions you should ask your young athlete’s coach before you commit.

1. How do you develop players?

Trophies and winning are great. But the most important thing for your young athlete is the improvement. If your child is not getting better, their playing days will be short. Be sure that the coach has an interest in your young athlete’s development.

The specifics of the answer aren’t really important. What is important is hearing that the coach has an answer, specifically one which includes individualization, not just team-think. All young athletes have different strengths and weaknesses, so the program has to incorporate room for individual development.

2. How do you communicate with parents?

We all want to hear how our young athletes are doing. Coaches know this. They want to establish a positive parental environment because it can help stem some all-too-common crazy sideline behavior.

Make sure the coach is open to communicating with you. You want to hear that they have a process for communication and guidelines about how and when they communicate. As an example, I tell all my parents I am open to any questions or concerns they have. However, before, during or after the game are not the appropriate times. I tell them to let me know they want to speak, and we will set up a mutually agreeable time to do so.

3. How do you handle commitment conflicts?

For the overwhelming majority of young athletes, baseball is a game, not a career. The occasional conflict with a practice or a game is unavoidable and, in my opinion, healthy. If it’s all baseball, burnout becomes a real risk.

Look for a coach who allows some flexibility. I’m not talking about continual scheduling conflicts here (e.g., “Derek has swimming every Tuesday so he can’t make practices or games that night). That’s an entirely different matter that you need to discuss with the coach before either of you commit.

I once asked the head of a soccer program my son was trying out for how they handled two-sport athletes. They answered, “We have lots of players who play two sports. The sooner we are aware of schedules, the better we can plan. But the kids don’t miss soccer.” I knew we weren’t going to play there.

4. Are practices open to the parents?

It’s a huge concern if practices aren’t open to parents unless there are special circumstances (e.g., indoor practice with limited space.) It makes me wonder if the coach is hiding something or insecure about playing time. It also gives me pause about how communicative the coach is going to be when the season starts.

As a parent, I enjoy watching my kids play. I want to know what they work on at practice so I can reinforce what the coach teaches. As a coach, I want parents to understand the same. Here’s a secret: Parents have much more impact on their young athletes’ development than coaches do. That’s because if young athletes only practice at team practices, they aren’t going to improve much.

5. How do you handle playing time?

This is always a touchy subject. Some coaches will tell you they try to distribute playing time evenly.  Others will tell you the best players will play. As players get older, the latter will more often be true. 

There is no right or wrong answer. You’re asking because you want to understand the philosophy of the coach and whether or not that philosophy is right for your young athlete and family. No one wants to see their child sit on the bench, but that situation is a lot harder to accept if there is no indication it might happen from the outset.

Asking questions before you commit can help ensure you put your young athlete in an environment that is right for him or her. It should be a red flag if a coach doesn’t answer or if their answers are not what you and your young athlete are looking for.

Brian Sieger is a father of two, husband, volunteer baseball coach and author of the blog 8U Travel

This article first appeared on the Team Snap Blog. Read Original
5 Tactics That Haven’t Worked For Digital Marketers Until Now

5 Tactics That Haven’t Worked For Digital Marketers Until Now

In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, new trends quickly overshadow proven methods of connecting and interacting with consumers. Often, users determine these trends — and it’s up to digital marketers to keep pace.

As user preferences continue to evolve, tactics that didn’t work in the past might be worth another look. Here are five examples of strategies that are gaining traction among digital marketers and the audiences they seek.

1. Mobile marketing

Industry watchers have whispered about the transition to a wholly mobile marketplace for some time, but it’s never come totally to fruition. Through it all, the desktop has maintained its status as king of e-commerce. That worldwide reign could be very close to coming to an end.

The majority of searches performed in more than 10 countries (including the United States and Japan) take place on mobile devices. To adapt, Google introduced its mobile-first index. This rank will become more important for businesses going forward as they optimize their sites for mobile.

It’s imperative that marketers understand how mobile search works, especially with regard to e-commerce. Conversion rates remain lower for smartphones versus tablets, so businesses should focus on improving those rates in 2017.

2. Facebook auto-bidding

Facebook auto-bidding still is a relatively new concept, and like anything in its infancy, it has some kinks to work out.

Essentially, this feature allows marketers to bid on the most important asset Facebook can offer to advertisers: real estate. Marketers enter an online auction in which millions of global users bid on impressions.

Manual bids long have been the preferred method to place bids, but Facebook’s optimization update means auto-bidding quickly is gaining ground. As business leaders evaluate this new opportunity, they should consider their budget, audience, and means of ad delivery.

3. Shopify.

Since 2008, Magento has been the undisputed first choice for creating and maintaining online stores. Yet Shopify held a presence throughout the Magenta era, despite being one of the oldest shopping platforms. Then, in June 2016, Shopify surged. Seemingly overnight, Shopify went from scraping along the bottom of the pack to overtaking Magento as the No. 1 shopping platform in terms of search queries and consumer interest.

There are many reasons why this happened. Shopify tends to be easier to use than Magento and has a number of fantastic apps. It’s also the natural choice for businesses that keep a brick-and-mortar storefront in addition to the online platform. Shopify point of sale (POS) readily can manage both.

4. Content made for SEO

Search-engine optimization (SEO) is among the most-scrutinized facets of digital marketing. One day, it’s the face and future of the business. The next, it’s under fire as the worst kind of digital marketing.

SEO has been inherently spammy in the past, with aggressive keywords stuffed into bland, unoriginal content. But the future is brighter and more inclusive. Companies are adding an increasing variety of media in their SEO campaigns, from photos and videos to full-blown fake companies. If SEO is to survive, businesses must find creative ways to get to the top of search-engine results pages (SERS) while continuing to engage their customer base.

5. YouTube ads

YouTube ads have come a long way since their inception. To many, it seemed the company misstepped by slapping an advertisement on every-other-video regardless of the content’s quality. Recently, though, YouTube has focused on contextual advertising.

For example, a company might want to run its new car ads only on test-drive videos or automotive channels. It makes sense for advertisers (who pay good money to be featured) as much as it makes sense for YouTube (which has to answer to advertisers if viewers constantly skip their ads).

In the future, YouTube ads will get smarter and more sensitive, so digital marketers and advertisers can better pinpoint potential customers.

In digital marketing, the future always is now. If you think you’ve got it all figured out, wait a day. This makes the industry frustrating at times but exciting, too — and extremely satisfying once you figure out what works and what’s no longer useful.

This article first appeared on the Entrepreneur – SEO. Read Original
5 Obstacles That’ll Keep Parents From An Amazing Season

Seasons often begin with high expectations for both parents and players. It’s a fresh start and hope is high as everyone anticipates a chance to start anew. Having a great season should begin with everyone starting with a clean slate, but that’s easier said than done. You must understand that there are some very ornery obstacles that will stand in your way if you allow them to. So, how can we stop them?

These attitudes and behaviors will stop a great season dead in its tracks:

Obstacle 1: Using playing time as the measure of success

The notion that playing time must be a priority if a child is going to get anything out of sports is not just a stumbling block to a good season, it is downright false. In fact, those seasons that your child has to fight and work hard for playing time or for a spot on the team are the ones that teach your child the most.

After 21 years of being a sports mom, I will tell you that the ultimate measuring stick of a successful season was never the playing time my kids got, it was the victories attained as they fought for that playing time, particularly so in areas like character growth and skill improvement.

At the end of the season, if your child has not had a lot of playing time, but has worked hard and learned a lot about teamwork, persistence, and hard work, are you going to chalk that season up as a waste? As unsuccessful? That assumption will leave both you and your child very frustrated.

Obstacle 2: The belief that you must push your children or they won’t be successful

Although there are some constructive and good ways to encourage and “push” your kids, the kind of pushiness I’m referring to here is the overbearing parent who happens to be a control freak. Pushy parents feel as if their child’s success is totally their responsibility. And when that happens, they simply don’t let up with the nagging, the pushing, the constant hovering.

The honest truth is that this attitude will make the season miserable for players, coaches, and other parents. And I’d venture to say it makes the pushy parent unhappy as well because his or her pushiness is actually a symptom of the need for control, and when one is unable to hold total control, frustration ensues.

Obstacle 3: The urge to interfere

Often times, the strongest urge that parents have is the need to fix their kids. If you could just have that talk with the coach, then your child might get to play the position she wants. If you could just get that coach fired, then maybe your child would get better playing time from another coach. If you could just pay more money for the private coaching that your child doesn’t really want, then they’d be much better players.

The ways for sports parents to interfere are endless. And while they all come from a deep desire to help children do well because you love them so, the unfortunate outcome is that your kids grow dependent on you to make things better whenever there’s a problem.

The bottom line is that you’re not doing your kids any favors by always interfering. How are they going to learn to fight their own battles if they never have a chance to practice?

Obstacle 4: A negative attitude towards the coach

Negativity is a bitter pill that affects everyone around them, so keep that in mind when you’re talking during games and practices. If you are displaying a negative attitude towards your child’s coach, it will impact your child’s own attitude towards the coach. It will stir up other parents on the team and it certainly does not help the coach do her job any better.

You don’t have to like the coach as a person and you don’t have to agree with his strategy of coaching, but be an adult and learn to do what’s best for your child, the team, the coach, and the other parents by keeping your opinions to yourself.

Obstacle 5: An over-glorified view of the score

I love to win. In fact, I don’t know anyone that likes to lose. After all, winning is fun and is the reason for competition. And the higher up in sports you go, the more important it becomes. It is the driving force for all professional, college, and high school teams and influences every decision they make.

But in youth sports, winning is not the only goal. It is certainly one of the goals, but an over-glorified view of winning in youth sports causes problems. It makes parents go crazy, causes coaches to compromise on things that are not the best for the players, and can distract the players from learning things about life that are just as important, if not more important, than a winning score.

Winning that compromises on integrity is not really winning at all.

Have you run into any of these obstacles yet? The good news is that they are roadblocks that you can control. It is within your power to help make this a great season or your young athlete.

This article first appeared on Coach Up’s blog. Read Original

The post 5 Obstacles That’ll Keep Parents From An Amazing Season appeared first on NEXT PLAY.

8 Constructive Ways to Push Your Child in Youth Sports

The desire to see young athletes do well is usually what motivates sports parents to get into a pushing groove. No mom or dad enjoys seeing a child sit too long on the bench or play below his or her potential in the game. Watching your child give a half-hearted effort is frustrating. Whether it’s in school, sports, or chores, parents are always looking for answers on how to help their kids “try harder.”

There is no magic pill for motivation, but the first step is to recognize that a lack of motivation is probably related to the fact that your child is either discouraged or is not enjoying the sport.

Once you recognize that a lack of trying is always related to something deeper, you can begin to get to the root of the problem and start pushing your child in positive ways.

You see, not all pushing is bad. In fact, I would say that positive pushing can be very beneficial for your child. The difference between positive pushing and the negative pushing that parents tend to resort to in frustration is huge.

Negative pushing uses tactics like comparison, bribery, shaming and nagging. Positive pushing, or constructive pushing, looks much different:

  • Ask the right question after practices or games.
    How did practice go? How did you feel about your game tonight? One or two questions show your interest, while too many can feel like you are pressuring your athlete.
  • Offer opportunities for your young athlete to work outside of practice.
    If your young athlete says no, drop it and bring it up at another time when he or she is ready to work on improving.
  • Get to as many games as you can.
    It communicates your support and may encourage young athletes to push themselves.
  • Offer praise for hard work.
    It communicates support without attaching your love to his or her performance.
  • Let your young athlete bask in and enjoy good games, points scored and games won.
    When hard work pays off, he or she will be motivated to push harder.
  • Don’t let your anxiety push your young athlete.
    That will motivate him or her to perform just to make you happy. It only teaches them how to appease you. Also, it distracts your young athlete from finding internal motivation.
  • Let your young athlete make his or her own choices.
    If it’s a poor choice, let them face natural consequences. This is probably one of the most powerful teachers of all. If your young athlete doesn’t get much playing time because he or she chooses to be lazy in practice, then so be it. But if your young athlete works hard and reaps the benefits, it motivates him or her to keep working hard.
  • Ask your young athlete the right questions.
    What do you really want? What is your goal in this sport? What makes you want to work harder? When he or she talks, listen well. Respect the answers, even if you don’t like them. Allowing your young athlete to have his or her own goals and desires builds confidence, which is a big motivator to do one’s best.

Whatever you do, don’t blame yourself for your child’s lack of motivation. His or her athletic performance does not define you. Your young athlete’s success does not make you a super-parent. His or her mistakes should not make you feel ashamed or embarrassed.

Instead, zoom out. See your child as their own person and strive to understand what he or she really wants and needs. This will help you see what truly motivates your young athlete and may require some parental experimentation. Remember this: Positive pushing is more of an art form, not an exact science.

Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called jbmthinks.com. Her new book, 11 Habits for Happy and Positive Sports Parents, is on Amazon.

This article first appeared on the Team Snap Blog. Read Original

The post 8 Constructive Ways to Push Your Child in Youth Sports appeared first on NEXT PLAY.

3 Web Design Errors that Just Won’t Die

3 Web Design Errors that Just Won’t Die

Web design has come a long, long way since the 1990s when things like GeoCities and AOL dominated the Internet. The design itself has evolved, along with a deeper understanding of principles like usability and the user experience. There certainly hasn’t been a lack of studies examining everything from typography and site speed to content above versus below the fold.

The Nielsen Norman Group is one of the premier user-experience consultations on the planet. It’s been in business for decades, conducting study after study on design, usability, and UX. In one of its earliest studies from all the way back in 1996—when “Friends” and “The X-Files” were still on TV—they identified 10 web design errors that were hugely problematic back then, in the very early days of the web.

You’d think that, 20 years later, as the design has gotten more sophisticated and information about design has become much more accessible, designers would learn to avoid design mistakes, but a recent, large-scale usability study from 2016 by the NN Group found just the opposite to be true.

Instead of learning from past mistakes, designers have been continually repeating them throughout the decades. In fact, if there’s one thing that’s certain in web design, it’s that these errors continue to persist because designers keep forgetting the basics:

  • Enabling users to find information
  • Enabling users to read that information
  • Enabling users to understand where to click and where the destination is

A lack of clarity

One of the most stubborn errors designers continue to make on websites is not sympathizing with the need of users to clearly and easily understand what the site or its elements is about.

The study identified these mistakes surrounding a lack of clarity:

  • Unexpected locations for content
  • Competing links and categories
  • Hidden fees and prices

The study revealed how too many designers put content in places that users aren’t familiar with based on ordinary browsing habits. For instance, inaccurate or inappropriate category names that failed to match the expected content within the categories was a recurring problem.

Another issue was navigational categories or links that sound similar to each other, which hampers users from finding the information they want. In such a case, your users will likely end up leaving your site and going somewhere else, where content is sorted much more clearly.

Hidden fees and prices will also hurt your conversions because no shoppers want to feel like they’re being treated dishonestly. When it comes to money, your users want to know about everything they’ll have to pay for upfront, at the beginning of a transaction. This refers to prices, subscription fees, convenience fees, and anything else where money is involved. From a pure design perspective, it’s a huge mistake if hiding fees and prices cause a loss of customers and transactions.

Overstock is a great example of full disclosure: note how big and bold its pricing information for products is.

UX problems

How easy your site visitors find that it is to actually use your site is integral to whether or not your site has good UX or not.

The NN Group’s study found these UX-related design mistakes that just won’t go away:

  • Islands of information
  • Link repetition
  • Stranding users on microsites
  • Inadequate search results
  • Flawed filters and facets

Two big design errors are isolated pockets of information on any given page that fail to link to other, related information on different pages and forcing users to repetitively click on what amounts to the same types of links to get specific information. Both design errors inconvenience your users by failing to provide them with the information they’re looking for in context.

Many sites feature subsites (think Yahoo). The problem is that some of these subsites provide users with no way of returning to the main site, creating a headache for them and stranding them where they don’t want to be. Yahoo is actually an excellent example of a main site and subsites done right, as users are never stranded and can always click on the home button to return.

On the issue of search, unfortunately, a lot of sites still either fail to search the entire site for search terms or return results that fail to even match users’ search terms in the first place.

And while filters and facets (essentially filters for various attributes of objects in a set of content) are well-intentioned, they’re much of the time either tagged incorrectly or are insufficient, thereby creating confusion.

Information architecture foul-ups

Information architecture should, in many ways, be the heart and soul of good design. Essentially, it’s what helps users understand your site environment and content quickly, so they find what they want. It involves labeling, organizing and structuring your content in the clearest way possible.

The usability study again found stubborn, repeated mistakes designers still make in this area, just as they did 20 years ago. This includes:

  • Overwhelming users with excessive information
  • Presenting users with hidden links

Studies show that users don’t really read web content; it’s more like they skim or scan said content instead. That’s why content should be chunked, in small and short paragraphs, and broken up with everything from bullet points to enumerations for better reading. The last thing you want to do is put huge blocks of text before your users.
Wayfair.com is a case in point for how to present information to visitors. Note how its content is easily digestible, as it’s efficiently broken up.

On the problem of hidden links, you’d be surprised at how many times designers hide links to relevant site content—for example, the menu of a restaurant—in the same column as ads leading to external links. The long and short of it is that most users won’t be able to find such relevant links amidst all the ads, which makes considering the placement of relevant links extremely vital to design.

Will it get better soon?

Part of the problem is that many designers just aren’t usability experts, but that’s no excuse. When you’re designing, you have to be obsessed with providing your users with a superb UX. Otherwise, your site’s usability, conversions, on-page time, and sales simply drop—and no client will tolerate that.

It will be interesting to see if, in another 20 years, we still see studies like these, talking about how design errors from decades ago are still haunting our web-design community.

This article first appeared on the Web Designer Depot. Read Original
How Young Athletes Can Stop Choking Under Pressure

It’s the 1986 World Series. The Boston Red Sox and New York Mets are tied in extra innings. Bill Buckner, Boston’s first baseman, has a very easy, slow ground ball hit to him. If he makes the play, the Sox win the World Series.

But he doesn’t. The ball goes through his legs and this play goes down as one of the worst chokes of all time.

Choking. How can athletes overcome it? At game time, the simple solution is to channel all your mental energy into one action. In other words, the answer is focus.

I’ve heard from a lot of athletes who have trouble focusing under pressure. They tell me that a voice in their head starts creating doubts and worries, which triggers a nervous feeling. That feeling sets them up perfectly for a choke.

Let me suggest to you right now that you already have some ability to focus your mind. You just have to become aware of the fact that you use your focus ability in other areas of your life and that you can bring that ability over to competition.

Here’s an example: I regularly conduct workshops with youth sports teams for players as young as 11 years old. At one particular wrestling team talk, I asked the boys if they had any trouble focusing before or during their match. They all raised their hands.

I then asked, “Who plays video games?” Most raised their hands. I followed this up with, “How long do you need to focus on a wrestling match?”

“About five minutes,” was the consensus answer. “And about how long do you play video games for?” Some of them admitted to playing for hours without being distracted (the parents in attendance attested to that).

Though each young wrestler knew they could focus, none of them could verbalize exactly how they did it. That’s when I said this:

“How you focus really doesn’t matter, now does it? Don’t even worry about how you do it. All you have to do is notice that you can focus in one area of your life and decide that you can do it again at game time!”

I could almost see the lightbulbs going on.

Here’s the good news: You really only need that focus ability for a short time when under pressure to avoid the choking. You don’t need to focus for an hour like when you play a video game. And you can practice recalling your focus ability in many areas of your daily life. Just notice how you do it and what your thinking is when you focus.

Do you focus when watching your favorite TV show? Do you focus when reading a good book? Aren’t you having as much fun in your sport as playing a video game? See how easy it is that you naturally know how to focus when you’re doing something you enjoy? This is what keeps that little voice in your head silent.

There are endless opportunities for you to practice your mental toughness so that when the game is on the line, you come through with that trophy raised above your head!

Craig Sigl’s work with youth athletes has been featured on NBC TV and ESPN Sports Radio. His free ebook: “The 10 Commandments for a Great Sports Parent” and also a free .mp3 guided visualization to help young athletes perform under pressure can be found at MentalToughnessTrainer.com.

This article first appeared on the Team Snap Blog. Read Original

The post How Young Athletes Can Stop Choking Under Pressure appeared first on NEXT PLAY.

How to Show Self Control as a Parent and Stay off the Sports See-Saw

How to show self-control as a parent is a challenge for most sports parents.

In many ways, sports parenting can be like riding a see-saw; one minute you are riding high as you watch your child hit a home run, score a touchdown or make her first soccer goal. The next minute you are watching your child cry over a mistake or because he sat on the bench too long and you find yourself on the low end of the see-saw, looking up at everyone else’s success and wondering how to comfort your child.

How To Show Self Control as a Sports Parent: DON’T Get on the See-Saw!

The highs and lows of sports parenting are inevitable as your child experiences disappointments and victories. But the trick is learning to stay off the see-saw. If you don’t you will get sucked into your child’s crushing emotional defeats or–on the high end of the see-saw–carried away on the wave of success, losing perspective of winning and losing.

Just because youth sports can be an emotional roller coaster does not mean that you have to ride it.

I must be honest and say that I struggled with this a lot. My children learned to grow and gain a perspective that helped them ride the roller coaster less and less, and my husband-coach, known as Steady Teddy on the sidelines, rarely let the ups and downs affect his optimism. I, on the other hand, let myself ride the see-saw and it drove my husband and kids crazy.

Perhaps these lessons that I’ve learned over the years of parenting will help you as you are faced with the temptation to jump on the see-saw.

You Must Zoom Out

Steadiness of mind comes when you force yourself to zoom out, much in the same way that a camera lens is steadier when you zoom out. If you’ve ever used the zoom on your camera to get a very close view of the subject, you’ll notice that it gets harder and harder to keep a steady hand for the picture the closer you get, while zooming out gives you a must steadier shot.

As parents, it’s very easy for us to be zoomed in on our kids, and the closer we zoom in, the harder it often is to remain calm about all the little things we see that we don’t like. When you zoom in, you will focus on every little miserable detail–how many minutes your child is on the bench, the way coach looks at your child, your child’s demeanor on the sidelines–and it will drive you crazy.

Zooming out, however, allows you to have a steadier viewpoint as you see the bigger picture. You see, it’s not all about the innings your child plays, the position he wins, the awards he gets, the recognition he receives in the paper; it’s about WHO your child is becoming in the process. The more you make yourself zoom out, the more you will see that and the less likely you will ever be on that irritating see-saw.

You Must Loosen Your Grip

I know how hard it is to let go. I still struggle with this, and all my kids are in their 20s! But letting go is something parents must start practicing early. Loosening your grip means that you do not try to control your child’s future, you do not fight her battles for her, and you do not insert yourself into every challenge that she faces.

If you have a tight grip, you will be tense and you will never get off the see-saw of parental emotions. However, as you loosen your grip, you will find that the steadiness of not being on the see-saw is much more relaxing, and will help you get along better with your child. A tight grip on your child will not nurture a healthy parent/child relationship.

You Must Ask Yourself What?

What can your child learn from this mistake that will set her up for success next time?

What will your child learn from watching how you handle stress and uncertainty?

What character traits are you reinforcing when you nurture an entitled attitude in your child?

It is inevitable that children start to mirror behaviors that they see in their parents. And so, you must ask yourself, WHAT does my child see? Does she see a tense, over-involved, controlling parent? Or does she see a steady, supportive, positive parent?

After over 30 years of observing youth sports–as a parent and as a coach’s wife–I can tell you that behind most entitled, selfish players are parenting mirroring those very same attitudes, and behind most team-player athletes are parents modeling good sportsmanship. You cannot ask more of your child than you are willing to do yourself.

Parents, you don’t have to ride the see-saw. You can get off and purpose to zoom out, loosen your grip and ask what? Those simple, but hard, steps will transform the youth sports experience for your child and for you.

This article first appeared on the JBM Thinks blog. Read Original

The post How to Show Self Control as a Parent and Stay off the Sports See-Saw appeared first on NEXT PLAY.

Copyright © 2017 • Craig C. Allen • Husband, Father, Developer, Coach