What It Means To Be Too Good

Recently I had a great chat with a good friend of mine. As a dad of 4 his problem wasn’t what else he could sign his kids up to keep them active but more so how to challenge them further.

A good problem to have right?

That his 2nd eldest has the confidence to boot, having been invited to play up and age group in Netball. And this is barely with even trying. A natural you might say… Maybe? Or maybe they’ve just followed a good path in their development.

Exploring, and exploring often!

So here lies the challenge, she lacks motivation. Not to play. But feels things are too easy.

As a sporting parent I’d give their family a very high rating in the process. With 3 girls and a boy they’ve been challenged in multiple sports from Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, Netball, Surfing, Acrobatics, and even Skateboarding!

This is testament to the statement that multi-sport kids are better equipped to handle the demands of sport. Combined with the additional benefits of enhanced fundamental movement skills, their ability to embrace new skills, learning, and challenges along the way comes with ease.

Did I mention when he enrolled his daughters in BJJ he enrolled too? Or that when they took up skateboarding he went and bought a board and was kicking it at the local skatepark also?... That’s quality right there! Respect!

… Now, back to the problem. Sorry, I mean challenge (Because everything is politically correct with our youth these days-right?).

How do you motivate your kids if they appear to be for lack of a better term ‘pissing it in’? (Said in my most Aussie bogan accent).

With our adult/parent hat on it’s easy to ‘lecture’ them and tell them all about how they’re not that perfect. It’s instinctual. That they may have missed this shot, tackle, or defence opportunity. But here lies the problem.

The biggest mistake I see parents doing when they have skilled kids. Those like you reading this who may have demonstrated an exceptional developmental path and clearly displaying early success.

Don’t tell them… show them.

In other words make them fail. Set them up to fail. In any way possible.

Don’t tell them. Don’t even explain to them ‘see you’re not as good as you thought you were.’ Let them experience it. Feel the frustration. Try and find a solution.

And if they’re like I was as a kid it may even involve a few broken tennis racquets, dummy spits, and cautions from an official here or there (ok maybe that’s too far- but true).

By experiencing it not only will their mindset be self-regulated but they’ll experience all the other benefits of sport along the way… Without even being told!

So, like I said a good problem to have but as a sporting parent seek the solution. Find the scenario. Play them out of position. In the end they’ll be better for it from experiences to skills and/or mindset. Not only as a participant of sport but in the long-term of their life skills.

You can always cheekily share it with your partner at the end of the day. Because let’s be honest it can be amusing watching your child spit the dummy at the silliest of things. I know looking back at my actions as a kid I can only laugh at what a little twat I was carrying on the way I was… No doubt my parents were giggling to themselves too!

… But I’m no doubt better for it! :) Well apparently anyway. As could this future generation too!

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