Published On: Fri, Apr 27th, 2018

Parental Tips: How To Make Your Child Do Good In Sports

One major solution is to take the focus off winning games.

“We want to provide parents with some coaching on how to help their kids have more fun in sports,” said Dr. Tom Hansen, sports psychologist and founder and CEO of Heads-Up Performance Inc.

Parental Tips-] How To Make Your Child Do Good In Sports

Hansen recalled an interview wherein famed New York Yankees Derek Jeter shared his top piece of advice for players aiming to make the transition from the minor leagues to the majors – “Have fun.” Jeter told the reporters that he often imagines himself back in Little League, “where I played for fun. That’s how I play best.”

It’s not just a mental or emotional tactic, Hansen says. The fun factor also is a physiological one. Youth athletes who fear disappointing the over-zealous mom or dad cheering and jeering from the stands experience tensed muscles and a lack of focus. They’re unable to concentrate on the game for looking over their shoulder to see the folks’ expressions.

On the other hand, “Having fun gives you access to freedom,” Hansen says. “Because you’re not worried about the outcome, your muscles are loose and you’re focused on the ball. Your body relaxes because you feel safe.

“Interview kids about why they want to play and the research is very clear – they want to play because they want to have fun,” Hansen continues, noting that when young athletes are left to their own devices, such as in neighborhood pickup games without adult interference, they learn to handle conflicts on their own. “They’ll pick teams, but if one team is 20-to-2, they’ll trade Johnny for Susie to flatten it out so it’s more fun.”

Taking the focus off winning and placing it back on fun, allows both young athletes and their parents to “chill” and just enjoy the game. Win or lose on the field, the right approach will boost a kid’s game both in sports and in life.

The Positive Coaching Alliance, for which Jackson serves as the national spokesperson, offers workshops on positive sports parenting, as does Hansen’s company. And there’s a groundswell of support for mandatory parent sportsmanship classes as a requirement for registering kids to play in a youth sports league.

“Research is clear,” Jackson says in the PCA’s public service announcement. “Kids who have fun in sports try harder, perform better and stay involved longer.”

About the Author

- Paul Linus is an eminent online journalist who has been writing news, features and editorials on different websites from across the world for about a decade. He can be contacted at

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