How Do Parents Affect Your Players’ Mindset?
As coaches we do what we can with the time we have to mold players into the type of players we think they can become. We want to create players that can handle disappointments, setbacks, and failure. This is a huge lesson for players to learn not only on the field but for the game of life where there is sure to be more of the same. Failure and the message parents send affect the efforts we as coaches put in. Sometimes it seems like one step forward and two steps back. Use this article to try to get parents to realize how they talk to they sons or daughters can negatively affect them in the future and undermine where their strength will come from in the future.
Undoubtedly during the season every one of your players will have a bad night. Could be a 0 for 4 night, not in the starting line-up, losing a game to a big rival, hosed on a call by the umpire, made two errors that lead to a big inning, etc., etc. The list goes on and on. Substitute your own creative night that has it’s own mix of failure.
How coaches and parents respond to these events is crucial to a player’s development.
As parents we want to protect our sons and daughters from failure. We want to boost their self-esteem. Our responses may help with the immediate problem of a player’s disappointment but can be detrimental and very harmful to their mindset in the long run.
Consider the following responses to any of the situations above which I am absolutely sure has been told to players after the game is over on the car ride home, on the phone, or once their are home by parents.
1) “I thought you were the best.” This is an insincere statement that you know is not true and so does your son or daughter. If they were the best they would have won the game or been in the starting line-up. This offers no real solution on how to improve and recover from the situation either.
2) “You were robbed.” This statement places blame on others for their shortcomings. When the real issue is not with the umpire or coach but with their performance or lack-there-of. As a parent do you want to have your son or daughter grow up blaming others and making excuses for when things don’t go their way?
3) “Baseball/Softball doesn’t matter.” This teaches players to devalue something if things don’t well.
4) “You have the ability.” May be the most dangerous response of all. Does ability automatically take you to the top or where you want to go? Gives them a sense that if they have the ability now and things didn’t go their way why will it next time or if they have ability now will it ever get better in the future?
5) “You didn’t deserve to win.” “You didn’t deserve to play.” Comes off extremely hardhearted under the circumstances of failure. But I would encourage you all to take this route. Not only does it support the facts of what happened during the game or decision by the coach it also opens the door for growth instead of slamming it shut with blame, excuses, or pity. Tell your son or daughter that if they are to play better in the future and compete against better competition they will have to out work their past. If this is something they really want then they will really have to work for it even if it already seems like they have been. More may be required.
This is the most constructive way to approach this because it is the truth and gives ways to help your son or daughter succeed in the future by learning from their failures. Remember failure is never final. To F.A.I.L. is the First Attempt In Learning. It is ok to sympathize with their disappointment but not give a phony boost, which will only lead to more disappointments in the future.
Feel free to print this off and have players’ parents read this article. The better players/coaches/parents can be about being honest about growth the more strides they will make at becoming the best version of themselves. We must embrace the adversity, learn from it as 1-Pitch Warriors.