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Dear Youth Sports Parents: The Only Words a Child Needs to Hear From You

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Can we please stop the madness?!

The lectures. The play-by-plays. The analysis. The should’ve, could’ve…

Look around and you will see on every court, field, ballpark…

All the talk.

Think about it: As an adult, how would you feel if you came out of a huge presentation at work and someone immediately began going over your every sentence?
How would it feel for someone to criticize your every word or move?
What would happen, instead, if after a game we just gave kids a little room to breathe;
what if we let them marinate in knowing we simply enjoyed watching them play;
what if rather than giving them a lecture we gave them permission to take it all in and have fun;

what if we simply praised them for their effort?

Even when…they didn’t score. Even when…they didn’t win. Even when...they turned over the ball, flubbed up, or missed the catch, tackle, or basket.

It's not about giving false praise.
It's not about everyone getting a trophy for simply participating.
It's not about withholding support for their athletic goals or embracing their dreams.
It’s about giving them space to decompress, and providing time to cool off, RIGHT AFTER a performance.

What would happen if we just listened?
There's a chance the child would bring their game up later—they might want to talk about what went well or where they have room to improve.

Maybe they wouldn’t want to discuss it at all.

But, what our children really need to know is that their worth is not measured by wins and losses, or missed balls, touchdowns, & layups.

And if we want them to have a love of the game—they need to discover the intrinsic joy of playing.

More importantly, if we want a relationship with our children, they need to know we have their backs and that we aren’t their critics.

I certainly don’t always get it right—sometimes slipping into old patterns—but I try to catch myself and remember:
“I Love Watching You Play.”

If we tell our kids, “I love watching you play,” things can change for the better.

It’s been a “game-changer” for us!

©️ Valli Gideons on My Battle Call

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"Through the Fog"

"Now Hear This: Harper soars with her Magic Ears"

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