An interesting website, www.changingthegameproject.com, posted an interesting article recently called “How Adults Take the Joy out of Sports (And How We Can Fix It).” The article opens with a youngster playing soccer, almost frozen on the field as his coach is instructing him to do one thing, and his dad is yelling at him to do another. Not knowing which way to turn, the player does nothing.
We’ve talked before about how kids often lose the joy of playing sports, and parents can be to blame for that. The article states that many kids quit when the enjoyment, one of three key components along with autonomy and motivation, is gone.
The article also talks about a great example of what it’s like for a team to play with joy. Look no farther than the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors, who seemingly play with childlike enthusiasm and pure happiness. That joy translates into a record win streak and, very likely, another title this season.
So how do adults take enjoyment out of sports? The article gives six points, including:
· Parents coaching from the sideline
· Yelling instructions during play
· Disrespecting officials
· Parents questioning the coach’s decision
· Commenting on teammates’ play
· Making the ride home a ‘teachable’ moment—i.e., reviewing the mistakes
So what is the answer to keeping kids happy while playing sports? The article gives one, simple suggestion: Ask your child what he or she wants. Ask what’s fun, ask what makes sports more enjoyable, and then make sure you – as the adult here -- help your child enjoy the sport he or she plays. Sports gives our kids too many benefits: Let’s make sure they get the joy out of sports.