One thing I've learned over the years from working with youth is that coaches and parents need a ton of support as well! Navigating the sports world, trying to be a great support system for our kiddos, and sometimes getting caught up in our own competitiveness can make it hard to know what to do and how to do it. That's why I wanted to put together this post with resources and tips for parents and coaches to help them navigate the tricky world of a youth athletes.
I've been investigating resources that parents and youth coaches can add to their bag of tricks to help them be the best they can as teacher and supporter. I wanted to share with you some of the resources I like best so you have access to them when you need them.
Websites and Podcasts:
Working with Parents in Sport : "Working with Parents in Sport" (WWPIS) is a UK based company that supports parents and coaches in working together to provide children with the best possible sporting experiences.
WWPIS is a great resource that provides you with articles, seminars, workshops, and tips that can help you on your journey as a youth sports parent.
Parenting Peak Performers : If you are into Podcasts, check this one out! Hosted by Kathy A. Feinstein, a fellow Mental Performance Consultant, Kathy talks to athletes, coaches, and parents to give you a well rounded perspective on ways to approach sport parenting. The Parenting Peak Performers website also has other great information and resources.
Youth Baseball Edge with Rob Tong : Rob Tong uses his experience as a father of 7 and youth baseball coach to bring you great advice and experience not only from his own perspective, but from the great resources that he interviews on the Youth Baseball Edge Podcast. His podcast tailors not only to youth baseball coaches, but to all youth coaches, and can help you become a better coach!
Practical Parenting with Katie Hurley, LCSW : Katie came and spoke at the local elementary school a few weeks ago and gave some wonderful tips and insights about today's youth and how we can best support them. She's also written many articles with great helpful information!
Moms Team : I came across this website and it has a lot of great information. One great thing about this website is that the information provided comes from a team of experts in their respective fields. Definitely worth checking out.
Positive Coaching Alliance : The Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) has been an advocate for positive coaching and youth development for years, and is full of resources for parents, coaches, athletes, and leaders. I highly recommend checking it out.
CoachUP Nation : Coach Up is another great resource to check out. The Coach Up Nation website has great blog posts and articles that can help you navigate some of the very things you are experiencing as a youth coach or parent.
I've always believed that as youth sport parents and coaches, our best role is to encourage and support youngsters on their journey to finding their own athletic and competitive spirit. I try to live this vision myself when I'm coaching. Hopefully from the list above, you'll find one or more resources to help you on your own journey as a youth sports parent or coach. As you know, it takes a village, so if you have other resources you'd like to share, please comment below!
Until next time!!
Stress is a common experience and as adults, it’s a lot easier for us to identify and cope with it.
For kids, it’s a different story. While age and personality play a role in how a young person handles stress, often times they aren’t sure that what they’re feeling is stress, what’s causing it, and haven’t yet mastered how to talk about and/or cope with it.
To recognize stress in youth, it’s important to first be aware that there can be both good stress and bad stress. Good stress means it can help the body be ready to perform by acting as a positive “jump start” to an young athlete’s body and mind. Excitement or butterflies can be perceived as good stress.
On the other hand, negative stress can be detrimental to performance and distract a young athlete’s focus and concentration. This type of stress can manifest in two ways:
Possible Causes of Negative Sports Stress in Youth
Below, you will find some suggestions to increase your awareness about youth sports stress and how you help.
Keeping your expectations in check can help kids manage their stress. Pushing them too hard to perform well often leads them to under-perform, have lower self-confidence, or be focusing on the wrong things. Ask yourself, am I asking too much?
Help kids stay process driven rather then outcome driven. Having them focus on the next play or one shot at a time will allow them to stay in the moment, have fun, and worry less about their overall performance or external expectations.
Check your body language and tone during good moments as well as not so good ones. What message is it sending? Do your words and your body language match up? Kids are more intuitive then we give them credit for, and they will pick up on mixed messages right away.
Embrace adversity. They’re kids and they’re supposed to make mistakes. Talk about those mistakes as positive, teachable moments to help reduce the stress youth may feel after “messing up.”
Ask more process related questions. What was most fun today? What did you learn? What didn’t you like about today? What do you want to try to do next time? Do you feel like you tried your hardest today?
Try to avoid outcome driven questions like “Did you win?” or “Did you score?” Asking only outcome-based questions suggests to youth that you are only interested in whether they won or scored, and their self-esteem can become wrapped up in that. It’s important to avoid causing extra stress in youngsters by suggesting to them the only things that matter are stats and outcome.
Set up boundaries for how and when you talk to young people after performing. Some follow the rule 5 minutes only immediately following a game or practice; others wait 60 minutes post performance to talk to their youngsters. Talking too much or too long to youth about how they did or what you think they could do better can create a stressful environment for them; something they dread post-game.
Talk about winning and learning. Rather then always winning and losing, what about winning and learning. Wanting to win is okay! But winning is not everything. Discuss losing, but phrase it in a way that emphasizes learning. Creating a healthy outlook about outcomes with youngsters can help them maintain a great perspective no matter what happens.
Make sure they are having fun! If you ask a youngster why they play that sport, most will tell you because it’s fun! Fun should be one of, if not the most important part of youth sports participation. Fun helps eliminate stress, so check in regularly to make sure they are still having fun, and that you are too.
Hey! I'm Katie, and I specialize in Mental Performance. I believe greatly in mindset and the role it plays in life.