What does your child need on game day?

What is the pre-game atmosphere like in your family? Perhaps the car ride to the game is full of last minute advice or pep talks. I sure did my share of pre-game pumping up, but if I’m really being honest, I must question whether it really did any good.

Your child has spent hours practicing, you’ve given him proper nutrition and hydration, and she’s got her sports bag and equipment. She’s ready to go. So what does she really need from you on game day?

The answer to that question may vary as much as kids do. But I’m pretty sure there are some things that every child does NOT need: last minute coaching that only confuses her, “be careful” reminders that could cause her to play cautiously, and “get out there and win” pep talks that adds to the pressure she is probably already feeling.

What your child really needs is probably a lot simpler. Consider these options:

  • Your child may want silence. Perhaps she’s focusing on the game and doesn’t want to talk about it at all.
  • Your child may prefer to talk about things other than sports. Perhaps she just wants to get her mind off the game to calm her nerves.
  • Your child would love to know that you believe in her. I’m excited to watch you play! I know you’ll do great!
  • Your child needs to have your permission to have fun. Have a great time out there! Just go have some fun!
  • Your child needs your unconditional support. I’ll be cheering for you! I’m behind you all the way!

The words you speak into her soul are just as important as the food you put into her body on game day. Are you setting her up to play her best and have fun playing at the same time?

Janis Meredith, coach’s wife for 28 years and sports mom for 21, has been spreading the message of positive sports parenting for four years through her blog, podcast, and videos. She recently launched an at-home video course to help sports parents keep the sports dream alive for their kids, instead of pushing them away from competition. Learn more about the course, Parenting Your Child Through a Positive Youth Sports Experience.

photo taken by Larry, cc license 4.0

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