Archive for the ‘Youth sports’ category
I saw an incredible example of encouragement last night at the community tennis courts.
Just before dark, a father pulled up with a basket of balls and his daughter, about 7 years old. She skipped out to the court with a racket. Dad began gently hitting balls to her, which she began swinging and mostly missing.
This is what dad said — these are direct quotes:
- That was your best swing! (after she had swung and missed)
- Keep your eye on the ball.
- Wow! That was a good shot! (after the ball careened out-of-bounds)
- Keep your head up.
- That was your best swing.
- That was too close to your body, nice swing, though.
I could feel the tenderness with which he hit the ball to her. His patience and encouragement — noting effort made — captivated me.
She said, “Dad, can you do a high one now?”
Dad immediately complied with five lobs,which she either hit into the net or out-of-bounds. Dad offered a correction, “Turn your body sideways.” When she slammed a ball down, he growled and said, “That’s nasty.”
Dad kept his voice calm and even as she swung and missed until darkness descended 20 minutes later.
Dad walked around the court and picked up the balls while daughter bounced a ball on a racket — which is good practice.
Saint Dad is dedicated to his daughter learning to play tennis. I would have involved daughter in picking up the balls, of course. He made it fun for her. I was jealous of the time and attention daughter had with dad.
No matter what role tennis will play in the daughter’s life, they are setting up a fun activity they can do together for a long time.
I want to be there the day daughter beats dad! That’s always a triumph.
I remember playing backyard volleyball with my father and our big family. I treasure those memories — and it gave me a skill and can-do attitude for life towards sports.
What sports did you do with your family?
The Boston Globe reported that parents of a Southbridge YMCA youth basketball league were banned from the playoff games because too many parents yell at referees and each other.
The players are between fifth and eight grade. The parents are unable to show sportsmanship, another word for civil behavior around a game, which is meant to play for fun and enjoyment.
When I coached soccer in the 1990s, most parents in our suburban league acted appropriately, except for a few extreme incidents.
It’s the extremes that make the news, like the hockey father in Reading, Mass., who went to jail for manslaughter after killing another hockey dad in the locker room.
Parents are disconnected from the sport and blinded by a strong need for their children to win.
One of my fellow soccer coaches made the parents of her players scrimmage on the first day of practice. The parents experienced how difficult it was to do what they had been admonishing their children to do!
The Southbridge parents might benefit from some court time. If they had their own fun, they wouldn’t have to ruin the fun of the children.
I’ve seen young soccer referees get harassed by parents when the ref gaining field time by refereeing micro players — all 5 years old. Some parents are way too over-involved and over-competitive, and deserve to be banned.
Why do parents care so much about youth sports leagues?
They view their children as possessions whose purpose in life is to make the parents look good.
They’re not healthy enough to play basketball so they live through their children.
They have no idea of sportsmanship.
What do you think is going on in the minds of these crazed parents?