I want to help my kids improve, but what can I do to help when they’re competing in sport?

Parents play a crucial role in supporting their kids learning by asking questions to encourage them to reflect on what just happened and what they can learn from it. To know what questions to ask you need to get good at watching them as they compete.

Two ideas to help you here. First, ask them beforehand what they’re going to focus on and then look out for that. My sons play football, so they might say, “winning headers in the box”.  Now I know what I need to look for and I have something specific to ask them after the game – “how did you feel your headers in the box went today?”

This keeps them focused on something they can control (rather than the score in the game) and encourages them to reflect and think about what they could do to improve – very important habits if they want to be successful.

Second, watch them and not the game or event. When I watch my boys play, I only watch what they do to help me shape the questions I will ask on the way home. This takes a bit of practise as I know it can be tempting to ‘follow the ball’. But if you really want to help your kids when they compete in sport, getting good at watching them as they compete is vital to success.

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