Parenting from the stands

Originally published by Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, September/October 2016.

Toward the end of an u14 girls’ soccer game, a father yelled to his daughter, “Don’t forget to have fun.” The comment stood out because it was the first positive comment from a parent during the entire game. I turned to another player standing near me, and asked, “How are you supposed to have fun when you are yelled at constantly?” She rolled her eyes and said, “Tell me about it.”  […]

The effect of mixed messages on player performance

Early in an u11 boys soccer tournament championship game, with his team trailing 1-0, a fullback went to take a goal kick. Up to this point, the goalie had taken the goal kicks, but he could not kick over the first line of defense, and the parents on the sideline near the goal kicks were anxious. The players sensed the anxiety and yelled at the biggest player, the fullback, to take the kick. […]

The overeager sports parent

Originally published by Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, October 2014.

Early on a beautiful Saturday morning, I walked to the park to watch my friend’s six-year-old son play his Little League teeball game. Nobody kept score, and every player played in the field, changing positions in the field and the batting order in every inning. Half of the team batted in every inning regardless of the number of players who reached base or the outs recorded. The coach emphasized fun, and nobody yelled at the children. When the energy seemed low, the coaches led their teams in a call-and-response cheer. As long as children this young were going to play baseball, this appeared to be a league that kept everything in its proper perspective.  […]

Parenting through the youth sports experience

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, March/April 2012.

Parents frequently ask me about pushing their child. They are unsure of the fine line between offering encouragement and opportunities and pushing an activity onto their child. When children begin organized athletics, the parent almost always makes the decision, as few five, six, or seven year-olds know what they want to do; at the same time, almost any kind of activity is interesting to a child at that age.  […]

A Generation of Wimps: The Product of Overparenting

Over the last two seasons, as a rash of college players have transferred away from coaches with very good reputations (Mike Montgomery, Ben Howland, Roy Williams, etc.) despite receiving plenty of playing time (Gary Franklin from Cal, Jabari Brown from Oregon, etc.), people have searched for answers. What is wrong with this generation? What is wrong with the coaches? What are the parents teaching these young adults? Why is this happening? (Note: I am not against all transfers; I advised a player who I used to train to transfer. However, the rash of transfers, taken as a whole, seems to ask larger questions). […]

Does not Keeping Score Solve Anything?

I turned on Two-and-a-Half-Men tonight, and the episode featured Jake playing soccer. Charlie sat down next to a mother at a game and said, “Where do you stand on this not keeping score thing?” The mother answered, “I think it’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of.” In the next scene, Jake walks into their Read more about Does not Keeping Score Solve Anything?[…]

Overtraining Against the Law?

A friend sent me a link to this article about a custody hearing involving a “Little League Dad.” The father of two Long Island junior tennis prospects has been stripped of custody by a New York state judge who found their rigorous training schedule to be “overly burdensome, exhausting and completely unacceptable.” The Cavallero brothers Read more about Overtraining Against the Law?[…]

Player Development and Information Overload

Today’s Los Angeles Times features an article about promising young center DeAndre Jordan and his growing frustration. As starting center Chris Kaman explains: “He’s got pretty solid hands and he’s aggressive. The thing I really like is his heart,” Kaman said. “He’s just a good guy. That’s gonna help him in the long run. He Read more about Player Development and Information Overload[…]