It may be holiday time, but for many in youth sports, it’s coming up on tournament time. During holiday breaks many teams, whether they’re affiliated with a school or with an AAU-type organization, use the time away from school for traveling tournaments.
So now may be a good time to listen to one of soccer’s legends, Mia Hamm, on how parents should handle their kids in sports.
In a speech recently in Colorado Springs, she offered this bit of advice: “Resist the urge to make excuses for your kids.”
Mia Hamm is now a sports mom herself, and in that role hears other sports parents blame the refs, the coaches, even their kids’ teammates if Johnny or Mary doesn’t have a good game.
“They look up to you,” she told the crowd. “They are so vulnerable after a defeat. They don’t need to hear, ‘Oh, my, if Suzie had just passed that ball to you.’ Or ‘If that ref had a clue. Somebody needs to talk to him.’”
Instead, she suggested that parents should listen and be positive, no matter what the outcome of the contest might be. “I think what you’re trying to do as a parent is take the pain away, make them feel better,” she said. “You kind of get locked into that rather than what example you are setting for them.”
Hamm didn’t have World Cup players as role models while she was growing up. Now, her poster still is on the walls of young soccer players around the world. She said she reached her success by, after losses, focusing on herself rather than blaming teammates or referees. She reminded parents that they should help their own children do the same.
You can read more of David Ramsey’s article on Mia Hamm’s visit to Colorado Springs here: http://gazette.com/david-ramsey-soccer-great-mia-hamm-asks-sports-parents-to-stop-being-so-childish/article/1589756