Where we can't let children fail

As a coach and teacher, I can’t guarantee the performance of a child/athlete. I can do everything right as a coach/teacher, they can do everything right in their preparation, but the outcome of a test or a competition is not guaranteed. But parents, what I CAN guarantee, if you let me, is a much more important lesson for your child than a medal or pats on the back after a game winning homerun. What I can guarantee, if you let me, is teaching that “effort” is what youth sports is all about as well as all of the other challenging situations a child is involved in. Effort.

Every child is totally in control of whether they try. They are totally in control of having a desire to move forward. These 2 concepts have nothing to do with the natural talent they were given by their parents and grandparents. The lesson is “control your effort and desire to improve.” We stress 1st place too much. We stress awards too much. 

The pats on the back should come before a competition for the strong effort and focus on PREPARING for the competition, the challenge. The pats on the back from the parents should come the morning of the test at school, before they get on the bus, for having worked so hard in preparing for the test. You ultimately make your life more successful, fun and enjoyable by giving yourself a “chance” to make things happen. Each of us can control the effort, the focus.

We can’t let children drive off to college, and their independent life, with the wrong perception of what success is. Success is not always the biggest trophy. Success isn’t always being a star. Success is improving and achieving levels that are a challenge for each and every person, not always based on a comparison with others.

Let your coaches and teachers have high standards for effort and focus in the gym and in the classroom. Let us “motivate” a little when the children need a little “re-directing” as they start to slightly veer off the road to success for them. Believe that the life of every child will be enhanced if they use preparation and focus as tools to make things happen.

I can’t guarantee a walk off home run for every child on the team but I can guarantee that each hitter will walk up to the plate “prepared” to give their best effort. Prepared to be challenged. Focused on the task at hand. Then we sit back and let “life play out.”

Trust your coaches and teachers to teach “effort and focus.” Your children will be better because of it. (If you like this message, share with your friends who are parents, teachers or coaches.) Tom Burgdorf and Gymnet Sports on Facebook