Parent Tip – How To Help Your Teen Athlete, Musician, or Exam Taker Perform at Their Peak

 Parent Tip – How To Help Your Teen Athlete, Musician, or Exam Taker Perform at Their Peak


 I have a question for all of you parents of talented athletes, musicians, performers?

What do you think kids dread the most when it comes to pursuing their sport or artistic endeavor?

  • Do you think it’s when they get cut or don’t get the part or the first seat in the orchestra?
  • Or do you think it’s when they lose?
  • Or when they make an error on the field or play a bad match?
  • Or when the coach or artistic director gets on their case?

In fact, it’s none of the above!!

A majority of my clients report to me that they most dread is the car ride home from the event.What happens in the car ride home to make my clients feel it is their least favorite thing about participating in their endeavor (sports or music)?

Frequently, parents become diagnosticians and coaches, telling their child exactly what he/she did wrong on the court, field, or concert hall.  Or worse, they give their child the silent treatment, or yell at them because they didn’t play well.

My clients tell me that these actions create fear of not wanting to disappoint their parents, the people most important to them. Or they fear they will lose their parent’s love if they don’t perform perfectly.  Fear in turn causes my clients to freeze, get tight, or choke when under pressure.  Even though parents are trying to help, they are actually created a situation where their child can’t perform at their peak.

Even worse than the fear of making a mistake, the child quits a sport they used to like because the fun is gone.Three ofevery fourparticipants in sports under the age of 14 end up quitting their sport because it’s not fun anymore.

What can you say to kids that changes this dynamic?  John O’Sullivan of Changing the Game Project recommends five magic words to say to your kids during the car ride home —“ I loved watching you play.”

Start using these words, letting your kids you loved being with them no matter how they perform and you will see improved performance and a remarkable positive difference in your relationship with your kids.  “I loved watching you play.”