Under the Microscope!
We take our children to squads, we watch
We take our children to 1-2-1 lessons, we watch
We take our children to tournaments, we watch
On top of all this one or more coaches may watch
When I was a junior there were nowhere near as many parents watching squads, lessons and tournaments, in fact many of us made our own way to tournaments via public transport. Obviously there are pro’s and cons to both scenarios but the anxiety of being judged was far less in my day which allowed for a greater freedom of expression and creativity. I look back at on court behaviour 30+ years ago and to be honest it was worst than today but was this a bad thing? We had so many characters that developed into highly successful independent adults who have had and are having incredibly varied and fulfilling careers.
The thing is are we wanting to develop independent, problem solving autonomous adults or young people who continuously look for approval and to be given the answers to life’s many questions?
Something to try:
Drop your young player off at a squad, a 1-2-1 lesson or a tournament and leave them. This will empower them giving them the responsibility for their own actions. To begin with this may be difficult for both the player and parent but over time will greatly increase a players confidence and ability to look after themselves and make decisions independently.
Questions at pick up:
Did you enjoy yourself?
What did you learn?
What were you proud of?
You don’t need to ask, “did you win/lose?” a player will volunteer that information, also if that’s the first question asked it sends out a very clear message that this is the single most important point!
When we (parents) watch we tend to talk to a young player post a session or match about what we saw, when surely we should be listening to the players experience and how it was for them.
Just a few thoughts while sitting on my hotel bed as Ava goes off to play her first round at Bolton.