Can anyone identify with this scenario? Your parents think you should spend more time doing one thing, while your kids think you spend more time with them. At the same time, your boss is insisting you stay late at work and your friends are calling wanting you to go out. There are many expectations placed on us from different directions and when we try to please everyone and it robs us of our joy and ability to do any one thing well.
As parents we long for our kids to get everything right, right away, including on the field, court and ice. It’s a natural thing because we love them and want the best for them. So we tend to give added instruction to our kids to help them learn and play well. Unfortunately, what the player hears is a number of expectations that need to be filled in order to please the coach and parents. Kids have a strong desire to please everyone because it translate into feelings of being valued and loved. When they are getting so many demands they’re robbed of the joy of playing and the fact that it’s their game to play.
Parents carefully choose who their children will be coached by, looking for someone who will instruct with skill and care. Good coaches are skilled at teaching just enough to keep the player improving but still keeping practice enjoyable. The best ones focus one teaching point at a time, doing so in a strategic manner so as to build a skilled player who has a love for the game. A good player isn’t built in one practice or even one season.
Parents have the hardest job. Once they’ve chosen a coach or program, the most skilled parents set out to love and encourage. This is hard because we tend to see how much better they can be if they only did “this” or “that”. But these wise parents smile, clap and say “You are amazing!” and “I love you”, regardless of how well or poorly their kids perform. We do this because God does the same for us.
Two very important roles in a players support team – two very different approaches – one goal. But together the skilled parent and skilled coach can help a child grow into the fullness of who they are created to be on and off the field.