With the competitive season now upon us this blog topic is dedicated to parents. The concept has been inspired by a wide range of support approaches I have witnessed parents use on their children over the years. Some work well and some are in dire need of re-evaluation.
Anchor: a person or thing that provides stability or confidence in an otherwise uncertain situation, provided with a firm basis or foundation
It is my belief that this is the role that every parent should play in the lives of their children, and more appropriately for this blog topic, the lives of athletes. Parents need to be the anchor in which the athlete can depend regardless of the situation, through good times and in bad.
Athletes need that place to which they can turn, that consistent safe haven of support. An anchor that holds things in place when rough waters want to toss them about. An anchor that keeps their minds from drifting to places that are undesirable. This is the role of the parent.
Setting a proper anchor is not as easy as it sounds however. Parents must learn the appropriate amount of rope to use on their anchor. Too little or too much rope and the anchor loses its effectiveness. Parents that work with too little rope create a situation where athletes cannot learn from mistakes, they feel stifled and smothered. These parents hover over every move, every decision, are “overprotective” and fail to allow the learning process to take its course. These parents are undermining, and manipulative and make the development of a coach/athlete relationship next to impossible. Consequently the athlete becomes accustom to mom or dad making all the decisions, and fails to develop this important ability. Give your kid and those responsible for their training a little rope.
Allowing too much rope is equally as frustrating. Too much rope puts the athlete in a situation to make too many important decisions. Disciplinary issues go unchecked and eventually multiply due to the lack of direction. Too much rope usually retards the development of proper behavior, attitudes and respect for authority or norms. Monitor how much rope you give your children and reel them in from time to time.
A properly set anchor represents that unconditional love and support. Parents need to be their child’s number one fan, not their coach, their trainer, or their sports psychologist. Leave this to the professionals.
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by John Geddert