Suzie has been playing basketball her whole life, well at least as far back as she can remember. She began playing around the age of four or five and is now a freshman in college. Suzie was a very good high school player, earning all conference honors and a college scholarship to play. For the first time, she is away from home while having new coaches and teammates.
Growing up Suzie played with the same girls pretty much all the way through school. Suzie’s dad was her high school coach and even coached her through little leagues. He was the only coach she ever had. Surely, college was going to be a different experience for her.
One day after an early season practice, Suzie’s college coach came over to her. She had noticed Suzie’s body language was poor and she just hadn’t seemed like herself lately.
“Suzie, how are you doing?” the coach asked,
“Fine, coach.” Suzie replied. “I’m doing okay.”
“Well Suzie, I’ve noticed you’ve not been yourself lately and you looked completely out of it today. Your body language was awful.”
“What’s going on, Suzie?” the coach asked one more time.
And just like that Suzie broke down in tears. Her coach gave her a big hug and they sat and talked for a while. During their conversation Suzie admitted she wasn’t happy, and that she didn’t really want to play basketball. She said she never really loved the game, and only played to make her parents happy.
When Suzie met with her parents and coach, she finally explained why she was unhappy, and her parents were shocked! How could they not know?
So, what do you do when your child doesn’t want to play?
It’s not about you. It’s about your child and who they are. You’re number one responsibility as a parent is to love your child unconditionally. Remember to always support the first name and not the last name. Your child’s involvement playing sports should never be about pleasing you or living up to some legacy. It’s not about you being the popular parent.
Parents should allow their child to find their true interests and passions. Just because your child doesn’t want to play that particular sport doesn’t mean they don’t want to play any sport at all. Let your child try different sports to see what fits them best. And if they don’t want to play sports, you’re just going to have to accept it and move on. It’s not about you. It’s about loving and supporting your child unconditionally.
Remember, very few people make it to the pro’s. Allow your child to discover their passion away from sports and encourage them to be their best at it.
As your child begins to play youth sports, ask them if they’re having fun. Wait for them to ask you to go practice or play. Let the decision to play be on their terms. It’s great to introduce the sport and encourage your child to play, but don’t force the issue. However, once they ask you to shoot, catch, or play with them run out the door and join them!
Lastly, make it a priority to talk to your child about what they like and dislike about sports. It’s vital to listen for understanding, not for persuasion. Parents need to make their child feel comfortable sharing their emotions.
Suzie’s story is unfortunately a true one. And there are many more like it.
Do everything you can to make sure your child enjoys the game and is playing because they want to; not because they “have to.”
Always remember who they are as person is FAR more important than who they are as an athlete.
As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!
Coach Elmendorf is available to speak to your team, group, or organization. Message him for details.