Sport Parenting Tips from a Non-Parent (3 of 3)

It was probably in 2012 or 13, and it was the finals of a ‘B’ Division game between two of the best schools in Singapore. The stands were filled up with students, old boys and parents from both sides. While the behaviour of the students was exemplary throughout the game, the same could not be said for the adults.

Yup! Am talking about badly behaved sport parents and adults. This was one of the worse incidents that I have come across. I could hear adults shouting and yelling all sorts of instructions and expletives from the stands, jumping up to express their frustration and shouting to contest the referee’s decisions.

One parent absolutely took the cake! He actually tried to get closer to the field of play by pretending to be a photographer and started yelling at the player from the opposing team.

Why so much drama???? It’s literally only a game played by younglings!

While the last post’s discussion centred on adopting more of an autonomy-supportive style of coaching rather than a controlling one, this post’s focuses on the behaviour of parents and coaches. Here are some pointers to consider:

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“I am very special…”

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“In the 1950s only 12% of young adults agreed with the statement “I am a very special person”, 77% of boys and more than 80% of girls of the same cohort by 1989 agreed with it.” Jean M.  Twenge, The Narcissm Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement

It’s been 20 years since 1989 and I’m pretty certain that the percentage today is close to 100%.

Wouldn’t that make the one who feels that he isn’t special the truly SPECIAL one then?

Sport Parenting Tips from a Non-Parent (2 of 3)

Thanks for the many responses to the previous post.

Today’s post focuses on the HOWs to help young athletes do their best without being overwhelmed by the pressures to win and to look good. Specifically, the focus is on how we can help young athletes build resilience in sport and life through a constructive Parent – Athlete relationship.

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Sport Parenting Tips from a Non-Parent (1 of 3)

Its universal, young athletes seek approval from their parents, and parents, for the most part, have their children’s best interests in mind.

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Raising happy and successful athletes

However, against the current climate where early specialization is the norm and Direct School Admission (DSA) often the main motivation, it’s easy for parents, coaches and young athletes to get overwhelmed by the competitiveness of youth sport.

Over the years as a PE teacher and later as a Sport & Psychology coach, I’ve observed how expectations placed on athletes by their parents have not only undermined their enjoyment but their confidence as well. As a result, many aspiring athletes suffer from performance anxiety, burnout and give up on sport altogether.

Make no mistake, parents have the best intentions but they may not know how best to help their children strive for success without undue pressure. I’ll attempt to share how we can address this challenge over 3 posts. The information will be organized into 12 related tips that are built on each other.

Here are the first 3!

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How to Coach like a Greek Philosopher

Has anyone heard of Stoicism?

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Two of the biggest influence on my approach to coaching – Process Focused Coaching, are Albert Ellis and Ken Ravizza. Both have passed on, and both were heavily influenced by the Stoic philosophy.

Ellis was described as a ‘Stoic Philosopher with a Sailor’s Mouth’. He was inspired by the writings of Stoic Philosophers to devise Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). REBT was the first form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy and is still my preferred technique for athlete counseling.

According to Ellis, “people are not disturbed by things but rather by their view of things.” This is a dead ringer to the quote below by Epictetus (one of the three most important Stoic philosophers along with Marcus Aurelius and Seneca).

“It isn’t the events themselves that disturb people, but only their judgments about them.” – Epictetus

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Dealing with Aggressive Coaches

The question put to me by a friend was essentially – what can she do to ask her daughter’s primary school coach to be less harsh and loud?

The primary school softball team had started holiday training in preparation for next year. She observed that the coach tends to yell at the kids when they make mistakes, as a result they tend to be very tentative when they play. Her daughter tends to “freeze out” especially when it’s her turn to bat.

Yogi Berra Quote

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All Possible Paths

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I was watching one of Feyman’s archived lectures that was screened during the exhibition – While explaining some sort of quantum concept, he sensed that the audience weren’t able to really grasp his explanation (neither did I) and remarked jokingly that they needn’t worry, he had many undergraduates who have spent four years with him and still did not understand Quantum Physics! He went on to share that not understanding doesn’t mean that learning hasn’t taken place, and what matters is that you are curious to want to find out more…

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