Thursday, August 16, 2012

They Call Me Mama Bear

Kids and sports is always a hot topic.  Especially when it is YOUR kid playing a sport, and you (the parent) feel your kid has been wronged.  Let me preface this rant by setting the facts:

  1. My kid is 25% for height and less than that for weight small.
  2. He plays tackle football, some of the kids are DOUBLE his weight or more.
  3. I do NOT want him to play, he is the one who is insistent and always ready and anxious to go to practice.
  4. He has not missed a single practice and is there giving his best 10 or more hours per week.
  5. He is no where near being the best on the team, nor is he the worst.  But even if he was the worst, he still loves to play and deserves a fair chance.
  6. I have never, nor would I ever, even dream of telling a coach how to teach the game of Football to his team.  I know NOTHING about it other than the fact that the helmet and pads are pains in the ass to get on and off.
Olympic runner  Oscar Pistorius 
Now, I DO know some things about motivation from my past as a children's counselor and my present as a team leader at work.  Here are some of the truths that I believe, as a leader and as a parent, that are a MUST to be a successful role model/leader/coach.
  1. When kids are young, they respond to positive reinforcement.  Ignoring or exclusion is NOT the way to get them to do their best for you.
  2. At 12 years old and younger it is MOST important to teach kids the fundamentals of the game, the value of team work, and to do so in a way that raises their confidence levels and allows them to have some fun.
  3. Winning is NOT everything.  At young ages it really is more about HOW you play the game.
  4. Not everyone deserves a trophy, but everyone deserves an equal and fair chance at earning one.
  5. 99.999% of the kids on pee-wee leagues will never ever be good enough to get college scholarships for sports, much less play in the pros.  However, the confidence and lessons they learn from being valued as a team member MAY help them to become future leaders and successful in their careers.
  6. Focusing on a perceived negative feature of a person will not help them to overcome their fears.  If a kid has determination and desire, they have the ability to overlook their short-comings and work through them.  Do you think Oscar Pistorius' coaches focused on the fact he was a paraplegic, or do you think they focused on ways to help him be the best in spite of his limitations?
  7. Singling out a child in a negative way will ALWAYS backfire on you, especially when the child did NOTHING wrong.  It is noticed not only by the child being singled out, but by every other kid on the team.
  8. Breaking or bending the rules to fit your needs as a leader will always be noted and unfavorably received by your team.  What is good for YOU and YOUR child, better be just as good or better for the rest of team or you will suffer great criticism.
  9. If you do make decisions that will make a child upset, have the courtesy to explain the reasoning behind your decisions.  Kids are smart and they know when they are being discounted or underestimated or disrespected.
  10. If a parent comes up to you with a concern, DO NOT LIE to them.  Trust me, they have been watching and for every one concern they bring to your attention, they have held back 100 for fear of retaliation on their child.
  11. Parents of other kids do respect and have gratitude for what you do....even more if you do it in a fair and equitable manner.
Rant over.....for now!

If you want to read more about my adventures in team sports, check out this blast from the past: True story about Bubbie, Football and Bugs

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