Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dads and Sports

I heard a great quote about 2 months ago:
"Apparently about 80% of guys think they are a superior athlete".

Let that sink in for a moment. Apart from being outrageous overconfidence on the part of ~75% of all guys, it is pretty darn funny, given what a random lineup of this proportion of the population would look like.
Unfortunately, many of these guys carry this 'tude along with them when it's time for their kids to lace up, crash the boards, or swing for the fences. I wish I had a video camera handy for every underachieving Dad I've seen screaming useless instructions (or worse) at his kid from the sideline, it would make for a great post, if I didn't get sued (Actually, I need to ease up on these guys, since they score big Dad-points for actually turning up and showing interest). And to flip that around, ever wonder why it's the coaches kid who is weirdly focused for an 8-yr old and makes the game-changing play while others look like they are running in treacle? It may or may not have something to do with actually being a superior athlete, but I guarantee you this, it's got a lot to do with the psyche of the Dad/Child relationship. Jr may not be the fastest, strongest, smoothest, or fittest, but the difference is that Jr is empowered. That's because it's THEIR Dad leaving work on time, packing the bag, hustling to get to practice on time, calling the parents to re-schedule practices because of rain, leading the drills, running the laps, cracking the jokes, building the confidence, explaining teamwork, dishing out punitive running, teaching the sly tricks, explaining anticipation, and building the team practice-by-practice and game-by-game.

[ED: Technical time out. Go outside with the boys and practice what you preach.....]

[1 hr later] There is something powerful about your kid seeing you in a position of authority, commanding respect, providing leadership and making it tough but fair, and in hindsight, a whole lot of fun. After several seasons Jr is suddenly the most committed at training, first to line up for sprints, first back from the run, and has that breakout game that leaves the crowd of parents saying....."Wow"....."Ooooohh".....and....(my favorite) "Man, (winking to each other) coaches kid".... It's pretty easy to see what's going on here. Even if they don't verbalize it, your kid has internalized the fact that you are committed to THEM, will do all that for THEM, and while you care about the win/loss columns, you care more about THEM.

Here is another truth. It's under-age sport, not the US Open. It's not difficult. If you never played the sport they are into, grab a book, get online or attend the coaches training. If you can do half the things listed above, you will have a blast. Believe me, you are going to spend hours and hours sitting on the side at practices and games anyway, so you might as well be the coach.

Chances are you might be a natural.......
Dad U
-be the Coach

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