“From the ages of 10-14yrs you stop being your son’s greatest role model. At these ages he will look for other mentors”
Steve Biddulph Author “Raising Boys”
If this is true, and I believe it to be so, who are your child’s mentors right now? Are you completely happy with that?
Think about all the things your sons and daughters do and all the the adults they come in contact within those environments. Teachers, Coaches and Instructors may hold the greatest influence on your child for a number of years, so what can parents do to ensure their child is being mentored by the best people for them.
1. Be involved – Although this is a time when other major mentors may enter your child’s life, you will of course continue to be a major player in your child’s development. Regardless of how good or challenging your child’s coach etc is, make sure you stay involved in their lives and their sports.
2. Get to know the coach – Do they uphold the same values as you do? Are they genuinely interested in your child’s development as a player and a person? Do they look for opportunities to help your child grow and evolve? Do they know your child?
3. Double the positives – Chances are that your son or daughter will have a coach/mentor at some stage that you don’t think is that fantastic, so always make sure they are outnumbered by positive mentors. The truth is that if your child is in a team with a dud coach, but so are all their friends, they will want to stay in that team. So try to encourage other positive relationships such as their friends, get some private coaching with another coach, speak to the coach of their school team etc.
4. Change if you have to – Sometimes you’ve just got to know when to fold them. For me this is definitely the last resort as I believe there is much to be gained and learned from adapting and overcoming poor situations, but I have also seen toxic environments ruin sport for kids. Change before they drop out all together.
5. What about Nan and Pop – Many of us work very long hours and it can be hard to even see what is happening at your club or team or school. Can you outsource some of your fact-finding? Grandparents can also be a great source of confidence for your child :)
6. Outsource the tough stuff – You may be passionate about your child’s sport, but sometimes your child may see your “passion” as “pushy”. Leave the tough conversations about your child’s performance to the coaches. Remember, the car ride home is a great time to support and love your child (and listen to them tell you how awesome they were) it’s not a good time to critique them. Enjoy the time with your child and leave the tough stuff to the coaches.
7. Right for your child – Certain personalities, teaching and learning styles clash while others flourish. Use the tips above to help your child find the right mentors for them. I am currently the father of a 13 year old boy and a 9 year old boy. I have been using these tips for a number of years with my boys and have found it to have been very successful. In my role as a Youth Strength and Conditioning Coach I am also a mentor to many young boys and girls, a role I take very seriously. Hopefully your child’s coach does too.
Keep Moving :)
Level 2 Fitness Professional, Level 1 Strength and conditioning Coach, Qualified Children’s Trainer.
David Lawrence Vella is Director of David Lawrence Fitness and Creator of Complete Youth Conditioning and Complete Sports Conditioning. A Personal Trainer and Strength and Conditioning coach for over 18 years, David is passionate about “Lighting the Fitness Fire” in everyone, especially young people.
To have your Fitness, Strength and Conditioning questions answered please email Dave at email@example.com