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Доступ к информационному ресурсу ограничен на основании Федерального закона от 27 июля 2006 г. Ted Spiker is the chair of the department of journalism at the University of Florida and the author of DOWN SIZE: 12 Truths for Turning Pants-Splitting Frustration into Pants-Fitting Success. Like most parents who watch their kids play sports, I keep an in-brain highlight reel of my favorite moments involving my two boys. Some of them involve skill, but many of them center around effort or teamwork. More and more, though, I also have witnessed incidents that make me wonder why there’s more gamesmanship and less sportsmanship.
Any of us who have been involved in youth sports have our own stories of do-it-the-wrong-way people. In my decade or so of coaching and spectating the half-dozen different sports my boys have played, I’ve seen kids be punks. The Brief Newsletter Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know right now. Ultimately, I think it involves parents having the discipline to keep in perspective what’s really at stake. Not a game, not a scholarship. What we do risk losing is this: A positive experience for our kids. Their memories of what sports taught them and the friendships they built.
Our own relationships with our children. Being a parent is a performance. Did your presence make your kids two hours better? What did you do to make sure that happened?
What does it mean to care? We believe that anger and passion and emotion are how we care. The reality is if we care, we focus on what matters. It won’t be a quick or easy change, but if we each do our part, we can slowly bring our youth-sports culture back to where it should be — a place for kids to learn, grow, develop, and have fun. Cheer for the play that helps the play.
It’s natural to celebrate the goal, the touchdown, the game-saving catch. Let’s make more effort to cheer for the player who makes the pass or block. Call out to the one who sets the pick. Most importantly, notice those things when other kids do them. An expert I once interviewed about the subject said that many youth coaches make a mistake by having a rah-rah-get-riled-up persona during the game. They assume it helps get a team motivated to perform well. We parents can take the same advice — cheer and praise with enthusiasm, but with a tone of voice that exudes calmness.
Ask yourself: What does your kid really want? While you may be eager to give your opinion on what strategy will work, our kids don’t want a constant yammering of tips and tricks from you. More likely, our kids prefer our role on the support staff: We’re chauffeurs, cheerleaders, peanut-butter-sandwich-makers, ice-pack-fetchers, bag-smell-taker-outers. Embrace that role, and use baking powder. If you want to connect with your kid over sports and offer your wisdom about improvement, your contribution shouldn’t come anywhere near game time. Toss the ball, bike while she runs, anything. You may find out more about your kids as people and they’re more likely to work on their game if you’re not beating them down.
I get that we all think we know better and have the strategy that will help the team. If you want to question the coach, offer advice constructively on non-game days and not in public. Then don’t take offense if the coach says thanks, but no thanks. Want a say in how things are done?
Or login to your fantasy football roster. If he runs his mouth, sit him down. There’s one exception to the above rule. If kids act in a way that demeans or threatens a coach, player, opponent, ref, or fans, and the coach won’t wield punishment, then we have the right — and responsibility — to do so.