How parents of sporty kids can help put key areas, ‘on the agenda’

Have you ever asked your kids what they need to work on to allow them to improve their performance in sport? I’ve found from experience that they often focus on the physical or technical aspects of performance – “I need to be fitter” or “I need to work on my backhand”, for example.

All very relevant but parents can also play a role in making sure kids don’t ignore other crucial areas. Being focused in training, making good decisions under pressure and how to respond when things don’t go to plan are crucial sport (and life!!) skills and the sooner these are CONSISTENTLY on the development agenda the better.

What can parents do? Keep a lookout for opportunities to shape your questions to get them thinking – “It sounds like too many people were mucking about in the session – how good are you at keeping focused during training?”, or “I see in the last round of The Open that … bounced back after a few bad holes and won the tournament, how good are you at overcoming a bad run when you play?”.

When you have something on their agenda, the next step is to keep it there – “how did you feel your focus was in the session today?” Then encourage them to think about what they would need to do to improve and make sure you listen out for opportunities to reward progress, “even though the session wasn’t ideal it sounds like you were able to keep really focused – well done”.

Developing crucial skills takes time. The sooner someone ‘helps’ to put them on the development agenda the better!

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