Parents tend to worry about and care about a lot of things but some of those things are quite unnecessary, especially when our children are playing sports. While giving a f*ck is important, some things we shouldn’t be wasting our time with.
Believe me, I still struggle with some of these and I actually thought writing this post would be therapeutic and be a helpful reminder to stop thinking about these.
Below you will find a list of things you should probably stop giving a f*ck about. While it will be hard at first, the more time that passes, the easier these things will become. If you let yourself obsess over these things you’re just holding yourself and your young athlete back.
1. Stop giving an f*ck about other athletes
What others are doing should not matter to you. What your family is doing is all that should matter to you.
An athlete’s teammates are very likely their friends. and when a parent tries to make their child feel better by saying “I don’t know why Joey always gets to play QB instead of you, he throws way to many incomplete passes” it is very uncomfortable for your child to hear these comments.
When a parent makes disparaging comments after a game about another player “what is this saying to your child now?” It’s ok to talk behind other’s back and create a negative mindset about others. Keep your thoughts to yourself. Stop letting other people run your life and get rid of the toxicity ASAP. It will do you or your young athlete no good.
2. Stop giving a f*ck about the past
The past is in the past and it cannot be changed. Worrying about it is doing you or your athlete no good. Moving on from the past is one of the most amazing things you can do for yourself. Who cares what happened two years ago on the playing field, last week…heck, yesterday!
As an athlete, this is one area I really struggled with and it wasn’t until I was 25 that I realized whatever happened in a game, period or shift, really doesn’t matter after it is over. No matter how big of a mistake I made.
It was at this time in my career, I played freer than ever.
Most of this was pressure I put on myself, but as parents, let’s try an instill this sort of thinking into our athletes at an early age. It will remove a ton of stress as they move along in life.
3. Stop giving a f*ck about your athlete being perfect
Stop worrying about your athlete being perfect all the time, there is no such thing as perfect.
Your son is 14 and it’s unfair to compare his skating stride to Sidney Crosby’s.
Or maybe your daughter plays U12 soccer. Should she really see the field like Christine Sinclair? The athletes you are comparing your child to are 10-15 years (if not more) older and they are the best in the world at their respective sports.
All athletes are different and going through their own struggles and have their own insecurities. Being imperfect is perfectly fine because you are great just the way you are.
Just ask Jim Furyk. He shot 58 on the PGA Tour, with a swing that most would consider the most unorthodox of all time.
Sure, it’s ok to recommend your athlete model themselves after some of the best in their sport. But make sure they understand it’s important to take what they like from the pros and mold it into their own thing.
4. Stop giving a f*ck about playing their sport all year around
Sometimes your athlete needs breaks and there is nothing wrong with taking them. Give them a moment to breathe and chill. They don’t have to be training like a professional all the time! Having breaks will keep the passion alive for that sport.
Every parent with kids focused on their primary sport faces this challenge.
This has been an on-going struggle with one of my children. He loved tennis at a very young age, however, we advised him on the benefits of playing other sports. He played baseball, soccer, badminton, and hockey.
Since we live in an area that has no tennis training (indoor or outdoor) that he can access, he gave up hockey at 13 and that year we drove to a facility an hour and a half away four days a week, which did not leave much time for anything else. That proved to be too much traveling, therefore he decided last year he wanted to move away to be closer to a facility, so he could train and not spend so much time in a car.
Because of this dynamic, he has had to specialize a bit earlier then he wanted to.
While being the next Earl Woods might seem realistic for some parents, the data shows this path does more harm than good for most children athletes.
Another scary part about being a single-sport athlete at a very young age is it can cause more injuries. The Oakland Children’s Hospital surveyed 200 NBA players and found that those who were single-sport athletes starting in Grade 8 were injured at a rate 10 times higher than those who were multi-sport athletes, and had shorter playing careers.
As parents, we need to enjoy the ride and let our young athletes enjoy the ride as well. The game will be over before you know it.
It seems like yesterday my son was a U10 tennis player and my daughter was a tiny tot cheerleader. Now my son is in U16 and my daughter is in middle school, cheering on junior and senior teams.
Here is what I am going to start giving a f*ck about. I am going to start asking my kids what they want.
Because it works! If you don’t think so, ask yourself “Why do kids play Fortnite?” It’s because the makers of Fortnite ask kids what will make them play more, and then they give it to them!
Now you know why it seems like there is a new season launched every week.
It’s because they take user input and make the next season even better by implementing user suggestions.
Don’t believe me? Epic Games has an entire thread on their online forum dedicated towards this.
Asking kids what they want is one of the “8 Plays” identified in the Aspen Institute’s Project Play Initiative to transform youth sports (read more here).
If we as parents took a moment to ask our young athletes “what could we do more of so they enjoy playing more,” and then we implemented some of their suggestions, great things would probably happen.
I am going to give it a try. There is definitely no harm in trying and who knows, maybe as parents, we can learn a thing or two from Fortnite.
So what are you going to stop giving a f*ck about?