The biggest supporter, whose name is ‘parent’ ...
We all know them, the fanatic parents who stand along the line to encourage their child during a competition. And who are willing to talk to the referee, to scold other parents or to shout fellow players off the field if they think their child is being treated incorrectly.
Or the parents who can only talk about the sporting performance of their child at every birthday party, because they are so proud.
Sure, as a parent of a top athlete you must be willing to put your own world aside. Your weekends are dominated by competitions; the days of the week are dominated by preparations. So it is understandable that sport is a common topic of conversation.
As parents of a young top athlete you will always get critical questions:
- Don’t you give your child time to do other things, for example, meet up with friends instead of all but sports?
- Are you sure your child likes this and doesn't just do it for you?
- Is it good to exercise so much at such a young age, the body is still growing?
- How does your child know that this is what he wants to do, he is still so young?
It is also difficult to understand that some children simply love doing their favourite sport. And one of the few places where you don't get those questions is at competitions where peers compete with each other at the same level.
But at the same competitions you also come across people where even motivated parents of passionate athletes put their questions. Every parent wants their child to get the best out of themselves, as a person, as an athlete. But there are limits, literally. I’m sure you have run into them, the parents, who are also fanatic, but express this in a completely different way. They see the sporting results of their child as a direct reflection on themselves and cannot always handle this well.
For example, there is the parent who is already shouting at his child before she even crossed the finish line because she has not run fast enough to reach a podium place. And then he continues to do so, in front of all the public, until his child packs her things in tears.
Or the child who is not satisfied with a third place, while it was clear that the first two participants could never have been beaten.
You can ask yourself what is behind this discontent: An unreasonable pattern of expectations of parents who are not satisfied with "just" a bronze medal? A huge sermon on returning home that this score is not acceptable?
pressure on those young athletes is only increasing, especially during the
competitions. And that probably doesn't influence the result in a positive way.
The motivation to train will also not increase.
Of course, disappointment and frustration also belong to top sport, certainly if a second or first place would have been a realistic option.
But good coaching of the parents also consists of putting the possibilities into perspective and dealing with disappointments. You must never forget that the sporting achievements, whether they have the desired and hoped-for result, or not, do not reflect your role as parents.
The only reflection is the way your child interacts with his teammates, disappointment, successes, the way he respects others, and mentally maintains strong no matter what outcome. That not only says something about the relationship between you and your child, but also makes you the best supporter right away.