The Dripping Faucet

Kids learn a lot about how to act in the world from what we say and how we are saying it. They hear it when we criticise the referee from the sideline. When we belittle another parent on the car ride home. Or when we compare one child unfavourable with another.

But it’s not just the words we say. The physical gestures we make tell a story about how we feel, which are interpreted by our children and athletes.

Crucially, it’s the small things repeatedly experienced over time that have the biggest impact. Imagine a ‘dripping faucet’. Right now, it’s hardly noticeable. Easy to pass off and unimportant. But over time, if the dripping continues, it adds up. And before you know it, litres of water have been lost at a significant cost.

Here are 7 dripping faucets in youth sport for parents and coaches to consider:

  1. Throwing your hands in the air

Players make mistakes. Throwing your hands in the air in frustration will not only make the offender feel worse, but also send a message to the rest of the team that mistakes are unwelcome. In fact, they’re an essential part of the learning process.

  1. Faking a smile

Faking a smile is a sign of deception. If you don’t agree with what’s been said by your child’s coach or another parent, be prepared to talk about it honestly.

  1. Crossing your arms

Crossing your arms is a sign of defensive resistance. When coaching your athletes, always try to keep your arm opens and your hands in sight.

  1. Walking up and down the sideline

Following play yelling instructions can be unnerving for your child, not to mention embarrassing. Find a spot, sit tight, and enjoy the game.

  1. Rolling your eyes

Rolling your eyes is a sign of contempt and a sure fire to make your players feel worthless.

  1. Checking your phone

Looking at your phone during meetings is a sign of boredom and downright rude. Whoever you’re talking to, put your phone away, look them in the eyes, and be present.

  1. Resting your hands on your hips

Resting your hands behind your head or on your hips is a sign of superiority and aggression. Keep this in mind the next time you’re talking with your players, particularly when giving corrective feedback to help them get better.

Being aware your actions and how they are interpreted by others is an important part of good parenting and coaching.

Do you have a dripping faucet you’d like to share? Please let me know in the comments below.

Be the best you can be,