Kids Model What They See Parents and Coaches Do at Games
Modeling, or observational learning, is a widely accepted psychology theory that explains human behavior as a product of what we see others do. In simpler terms, kids will often replicate what they see others do — especially when it comes to parents and coaches. While this might sound like common sense, we as adults often lose sight of the impact of our actions during the heat of the battle in sports, especially when we become emotional and say and do things out of character.
Modeling pro-social behaviors should be a goal for all of us when working with kids, and we can all improve in this area by taking a few minutes to think about how we respond and react at youth sports. Ask yourself the following sport psychology questions to see how you stack up:
- Do you regularly yell and scream at officials? If you do this, do you find your actions usually help the situation, or instead lead to more frustration and provide kids with poor problem-solving skills?
- Do you throw tantrums when kids don’t perform up to expectations – especially when it’s your kid? Kids will make mistakes in sports (regularly, in fact), but it is more important to be patient, lend encouragement, and provide additional instruction when appropriate.
- Do you show disrespect to opposing teams/fans and/or officials? If you find that you taunt and belittle others while at youth sports games, you can be sure that kids will pick up on this and soon end up doing it themselves.
- Do you use humiliation as a motivation tool? Nobody likes to be called out and embarrassed, and this is also a lousy teaching approach, too. Up your game by exercising patience and work to build trust and rapport with kids so that they will be at their best when receiving your instruction.
The old saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” may hold true when it comes to the impact of our actions on the young athletes we parent and coach. Fortunately, our good actions are modeled, too, so lets be sure to put our best foot forward at the games this year.
Apps, videos, books, and downloads all designed to improve athletic performance – grab yours today!