The Five Words That Will Change The Game For You and Your Child!

I Love Watching You Play!

Years ago, I had a friend introduce me to this video that I hope you take the time to watch. It really impacted me and helped me so much with how I was parenting my children in sports.  At the very least it has changed the way I was talking to them about their sports!  Prior to learning the significance of these five words, I thought I was helping my kids with my feedback on what they could improve on after trainings or games.  I meant well, but what I didn’t understand was I wasn’t helping at all.  In a lot of ways in trying to help I was throwing a wet blanket over the passion and fun of the games they play.  As these five words have become part of our communication, I have watched both their passion and mine grow in their sports of choice.  What we are talking about today, is an absolute game changer, no that is an understatement…this is THE GAME CHANGER for you and your child!  I will honestly tell you; it is something that I wish I would have understood and applied to my life as a sports dad, much, much sooner than I did!  I think my older children would agree with that!  It comes down to five words and becomes the most important thing that you can say as a sports parent.  It will build into your child’s heart and passion.  It will also build into your own experience around youth sports in an incredibly positive way.  This is something I now say on our way to every practice, game, or to whatever my children are doing to the point where they know it is coming and are tired of hearing it!  I say it anyway.  The video you will see is from a TED talk from 2014 that changed my approach to conversations with my children about the sports they play, whether at home or in the car, even how I post about them (which for me, those posts are typically to them) on social media.  But before we watch the video, I think we should just talk for a moment because this is the most important tool that I think I can put in your hands as a sports parent. 

Do you think I’ve overstated some things to hype up this article?  I don’t.  This is the most important five words a parent can say in all that happens around their child’s sports career.  That’s right!  I’m giving you the key to enhance and fuel your child’s passion for the game right here, right now!  It doesn’t cost you a dime and while it will take some intentionality and focus on your part, it isn’t hard to do!  You ready?  It comes down to the one thing you tell your child every time you are around their sport…EVERY TIME!   

“I love watching you play!”

This phrase doesn’t come with any “buts” and it doesn’t come with any criticism of how your child performed.  If you are competitive and passionate about the sport this can be a challenge, but you need to remember they have a coach for the feedback on their game.  These five words will change everything, and I’m telling you saying this phrase helps us parents enjoy things so much more as well, enhancing your own passion and joy for the game.  Because the more you say it, the more of a reality it will become for you! 

“I love watching you play!”

This might sound simple, but it is “THE GAME CHANGER” and can really help you and your relationship with your child on and off the soccer field.  It’s five words that you need to work into every car ride to, and from training and games.  It’s five words that you need to bring up every time a conversation with your child comes up about soccer.  It’s the thing your child needs to hear more than how they could improve on or what all you thought they did right or wrong in the game or training.

“I love watching you play!”

I know what you are thinking, this is a bit much, it sounds simple, but it is true.  If you are skeptical just try it for a while and see how it goes.  It will change everything for you and your child.  For them it takes the pressure off and helps them understand that win or lose, whether they played well or not, that you are there for them and enjoying watching them play!  It gives the game back to your child.

“I love watching you play!”

Did you know that over 70% of kids quit playing youth sports by the age of 13?  How sad is that?  Most children will not continue playing sports in high school.  They burn out.  Studies have shown a big reason for the burn out is the pressure these young athletes feel from their parents.  They have also shown that one of the child’s least favorite parts of sports is the car ride home with their parents after a game.  Think about that for a moment, if the parent to child relationship is a major reason why children are dropping out of youth sports by the age of 13, that means that we parents can do something about this!  The way to do it is to leave the soccer coaching and tactics to the coach.  Leave all the critical comments about the game or training (whether about your child, the team, the coach, the ref, or other players) out of the conversation and intentionally work these five words into every conversation you have with our child about soccer.  Let them know it to the point that they get tired of hearing it.

“I love watching you play!”

The more you say it, the more passion you will see in your child.  The more you say it the more true it will be for you too! 

Mom and Dad, you can change the game for your child.  When you get in the car to go to practice or a game be intentional with what you are saying.  Your comments influence your child’s perspective and attitude.  This will come out more in future posts for sure but for now we will leave it at this.  Stop complaining about the coach, or the team with those young ears listening.  Stop critiquing your child’s game and pointing out all the things you wish your child or others on the team would or could be doing.  Stop talking about all the other things you must do that you can’t do because you have to drive them to soccer.  Stop talking about how much this all costs you, or what your child needs to do or not do in the game to have more success than they currently are having…and stay with these five words.  Tell them you love watching them play.  Just say something like this.  “Guess what I get to do tonight?  I get to do my favorite thing in the world!  I get to watch you play soccer!  I love watching you play!”  Every night, for every practice and every game…and on the way home do the same thing.  After a while they will know what you are going to say, and roll their eyes and look out the window, saying “I know, I know!”  Say it anyway!   This is the game changer…the more you say it, the more of a reality it becomes for both your child and for you!

“I love watching you play!”

Please take some time and watch this 2014 TED Talk on “Changing the Game in Youth Sports.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXw0XGOVQvw&feature=emb_logo