Parenting is a tough gig! (So I've heard haha!)
Throw sport into the mix and it becomes even tougher. There’s no question that everything you do has your child’s best interest at heart. Sometimes in getting caught up wanting the best for their child, parents can behave in a way that is harmful to their child's love for the game. Here’s my top 5....
1. Pushing your child too hard.
Kids are no different from adults, they need a break. Give them a break away from school, away from cricket…just to be a kid. It’ll freshen them up, keep them interested and improve their performance. Let them (and their mentor, see #3) push themselves, they’ll do a good enough job of it without you jumping in.
If you’re constantly telling them to work harder, train more…you’ll take the love out of it and they’ll end up hating the game. It’s much better coming from within themselves or a professional mentor.
2. Over doing it at games.
If you go to watch you child, find a spot out of the way and sit there and watch. Don’t be that parent that tries to coach them from the sidelines or in front of the team. Don’t be that parent that annoys the coach asking when your child is going to bat or bowl, or telling them how to coach. Definitely don’t be that parent that yells abuse to the umpire and opposition from the sideline. Sit in the shade and enjoy the game.
3. Trying to coach them yourself.
I think there must be something biologically ingrained in teenagers, especially at that age, not to listen to their parents (I’m sure you’ve experienced it). They’ll hang off every word you say until a certain age…and then, not interested!
Don’t take it to heart. It’s not you, like I said, I’m sure every child goes through it. Instead of trying to coach your child yourself, look for the right mentors. Look for mentors that can guide your child in not only becoming a better player but also a better person. It might be one person, it might be a few but your child needs that support network.
Of course you’ll play a part in mentoring them, they’re your child, but if you try to do it all on your own, they’ll likely lose interest in the game5
4. Showing disappointment or even worse, anger. (#1 biggest and most common mistake)
Of course you want your child to succeed.
But know that your child’s world revolves around impressing you.
When I was a junior, all I wanted to do was score a hundred so I could go home and tell mum and dad (well they were usually at the game, but you know what I mean).
When I failed, my parent’s didn’t bat an eye lid. They kept smiling, encouraged me to learn from it, then spoke about something else (see #6). And that was so refreshing and actually helped me learn to separate the game from my external life, which is an important ability. You don’t want to be taking your failures home, to school, or work as an adult.
You’ll never understand to what extent your love and acceptance means to your child.
Never show your disappointment and ABSOLUTELY never get angry at them for failing. They are already hurting inside.
If you do, they’ll end up hating the game.
5. Using guilt on them.
Have your “guilt gland” removed. This will help you avoid phrases like “I’ve got better things to do with my time” and “Do you realise how much I have had to give up for you to play cricket”. Everyone loses when you play the guilt game.
If you’ve made the decision to let them play cricket. Support them 100%
Put the guilt trip on them and they’ll end up hating the game.
At the end of the day, you’re the most influential figure in your child's development as a cricketer. I’m sure everything you do has your child's best interest at heart. This guide is likely just a reminder but stay on top of these 5 destructive behaviours and you’ll go a long way to creating a fun and supportive environment that encourages your child's love for the game.