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The Benefits of NOT Attending your Child’s Practices

January 10, 2021

Many parents don’t know that most experts agree that going to watch your child’s practice is detrimental to their growth as an athlete. It is often enjoyable for parents to watch their child play sports, but parents don’t realize they are actually working against what they want; for their child to fall in love with the game. What are the benefits of “releasing your child to the game” and you skipping practice?

  • A more confident person/athlete:​ research shows that kids who grow up with a hovering parent are more likely to experience anxiety and depression as a teenager. Apparently, when we parents are too involved in our children’s lives, the message the child receives is that we don’t think they are capable of doing these things without us. As parents we are to gradually give our children increasing independence that is age appropriate. Attending practice without your mom or dad there is a great, safe way to start growing necessary independence that leads directly to self-confidence.
  • A more free thinker and creative player: ​when parents come to practice, it’s inevitable that they will see things they​ ​will want their child to do differently or better. The coaching, criticism and analysis that ensues from a parent, (as well-intentioned as it may be,) puts a ceiling on a child’s willingness to try new things that will end up in a potential mistake. Practice is the place to make mistakes and try new things! Kids need to not fear too much criticism at training (or after training.) There are 4 roles at any sporting event: Player, Coach, Referee and Fan/Supporter. It’s best when the parent stays in the role of fan/supporter, not coach.
  • A player who has stronger relationships with their teammates: ​when parents attend practice, you can take away from your child’s ability to bond with their teammates and coach, which is one of the greatest joys of playing team sports, and is also great preparation for their future. Learning to play and work in a group, without distraction, is so fun, and so useful for future success in other areas of life such as careers. Parent attendance can distract a child from bonding with the other kids there.
  • A longer athletic career:​ young athletes who play for their own joy, and not to please their parents, end up playing sports longer. If your child is playing to please you, and not his/herself, then he or she might burnout early. We parents don’t intend to put pressure on our children, but when parents attend practice, we don’t realize we are actually saying, “my happiness depends on how well you play.”
  • You will be healthier!​ During practice time, go for a walk, or a run, or read a book. Do something positive for your own growth and development while your child works on his or her growth and development. This is positive role modeling AND will help you to not obsess over her progress.It is encouraged to go to your child’s games. Even if you see them make mistakes, try to not point them out. Keep in mind, mistakes are how we learn and grow. Be positive and encouraging after. Say, “I love watching you play!”

I like to read stories about the best players in the world, how they became that way. From Luca Modric to Cristiano Ronaldo, Leo Messi to Neymar and Ronaldinho, they all have the same story. They all played a lot of unstructured sport without any coach or parent watching or overseeing or critiquing their every move, If you want your child to thrive in sports, it must be their own. It’s best for parents to release their child to the game, and let it be their fun, joyful thing to do without interference or distraction or criticism. Don’t underestimate the power of having fun in growing a great athlete!

“Everything I have achieved in football is due to playing football in the streets with my friends.” -Zinedine Zidane