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Tom House's Parenting Advice for Athletes

mentalfitnessfriday parents of athletes Sep 21, 2023

I thought I had a good joke about yoga, but it was a bit of a stretch. This is Mental Fitness Fridays. I'm Hans.

I recently read an article titled “Coach for Tom Brady, Drew Brees has radical advice for parents of young athletes.” The coach is Tom House. He's smart and experienced. He’s a parent. It's not radical. Not even a stretch. Just common sense.

My focus today is on # 4 of his 10 - We parent out of love, but coaching our kids may be doing them a disservice.

Sometimes in youth sports, there is no one else to do it. So when it happens, parents say, “At practice or games, I'm coach - not your parent.” Umm ok. It's well-intentioned but sucks. It’s more for the parent. Guess what? You can't separate the two roles, and the athlete for sure can't and won't. You need relationship capital to parent and to coach, so spend it wisely. Creating it is challenging, so coaching your kid may put you in relationship capital debt.

Listen, you're biased. You should be - you love them. The facts - you’re never objective. Both of you are in the team fishbowl, and you’re feeling guilty you’re not objective. So you overcorrect, lured into the special treatment of being aggressively critical of them.

The battle begins inside of them. “I've gotta be amazingly perfect so people don't rip my coach.” Now you’ve broke the budget.

So here's some options. Have another coach responsible for coaching your kid. Have a conversation about needs, name challenges, and the fact that it may be confusing or difficult. Tell your kid - my job is to handle the adult stuff. Then, keep your mouth shut when someone challenges you. Have a trusted confidant who will give you straight feedback on your coaching, of the team, and your kid,

On the way home, talk about fun topics that interest them and listen to their bad music. At home, limit talk about the sport and the team. Use your parenting capital on homework, making good choices.

You know what? Sometimes, parenting requires you to lose 29 of the 30 battles you pick. Understanding and accepting that is mental fitness.

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