A Facebook friend liked this article about youth sports and what parents should say to kids when they play. I found that article, the article it references and the discussion in the comments interesting — especially because I’ve been coaching a youth sports team for a few years.
I find the youth sports scene interesting for a number of reasons. One reason is that cause and effect of success and failure is hard to determine, but that doesn’t stop people from trying. The articles above are good examples.
They say college athletes said their parents just told them that they like watching them play.
Is that a signal or a cause? The articles make it sound like a cause.
But, it’s likely that most college athletes were excelling in their sport from an early age due to natural physical advantages, above average interest in learning the sport, some competitive grit and/or environmental factors that may have provided them with multiple times more exposure to the sport than the average kid.
It’s easier to say “I just like to watch you play” to someone who is in the top 5% of their age group than to somebody who is in the middle or bottom.
Also, I’m sure many parents whose kids didn’t make a college or high school team said that, too. I’d guess that for every set of parents of a college athlete who said that, there are ten sets of parents of non-college athletes who said the same. Why didn’t it work for them?
My parents usually said something like that. They’d usually ask if I had fun and tried my best. I didn’t play high school or college athletics. And, I’m doing okay. As near as I can tell, I’m doing about as okay as many who did play high school and college sports.