Because youth sports are so full of emotion and excitement for sports parents and athletes, it is not unusual for gross exaggerations to occur. When things are not going as you think they should or as you had planned, those emotions often produce behavior reflecting skewed perceptions.
You may hear these common exaggerations all around you, and yet, you’ve become immune to just how ridiculous they really are.
1. The coach obviously can’t stand my child. Why is that? Because your child isn’t playing enough or even playing the position he wants? It’s easy to misread intentions when you really don’t know the whole story, like what happens at practice every day.
2. My child never gets in the game. Unfortunately, that may be true for some players, especially in the upper levels of youth sports. But there are many players who may only see one or two innings or a few minutes in a game, and because a parent is frustrated with that, they resort to stating something that reflects their frustration. Maybe your child doesn’t get in as much as you’d like, but there’s usually a reason, and there is a way for your child to handle it. Or maybe his/her role is to be a backup, and if that’s the case, he/she probably won’t see as much time as you’d like. But words like never are rarely reliable measurements.
3. That official does not know what he is doing! No official is perfect, of course, and since there’s no instant replay in youth sports, there will be mistakes. But most officials have been properly trained and really do know the game.
4. Those coaches are absolutely clueless. Or maybe it’s that they don’t do things the way you would. That, however, does not make them ignorant.
5. My child is never going to improve. The first step towards helping your child improve is to believe that he/she can improve! It may not be at the pace you’d like, but your belief can empower him/her to attain little victories and those little victories will add up.
6. Youth sports are out of control. This gloomy outlook on today’s youth sports culture does not hurry the change. Yes, there are things that have gotten way out of whack, but there are still a lot of sane parents, good coaches, and dedicated athletes who are doing their best to make it a good game.
Are you stuck in the exaggeration habit? Does it make you feel just a tad better to vent your frustration in a negative way? Unfortunately, these words cannot be unspoken and those that hear them are the ones who suffer. Negativity will merely suck the fun out of youth sports.