It was horrible.
I was passive on offense. Every shot I took missed. And I played terribly against the press. To make matters worse, it was the championship game we had just lost.
But, only one thing hurt more than losing.
It was knowing I’d have to suffer through the car ride home — listening to the one person I didn’t want to hear from.
I knew the criticism he’d give, the questions he’d ask and the pissed-off feeling I’d experience.
“Do you even care?”
“What were you thinking?”
“I pay HOW MUCH for you to play on this team and this is what I get in return?”
This happened over and over again.
Until, one day…
My dad changed his approach. He started valuing our relationship more than my in-game performance. Almost instantly, our relationship improved, and so did my play.
Which got me thinking… is there a better way to parent athletes?
The short answer, yes. The longer answer, also yes.
Look, if you think you’re the perfect sports parent, you probably don’t need to read any further.
But if you think you have room to grow in this realm, let me break it down for you…
Here’s the hard truth — your kid isn’t going to the NBA. And statistically speaking, most of us won’t even play in college.
There are 540,769 males & 399,067 females playing high school basketball this year. Of that number, less than 3.5% of males will play college basketball. Less than 4.1% of female hoopers. That’s a low number.
So, for most athletes, their career spans from elementary school to high school.
Let’s assume they play until they’re 22 at best. You still have another 50-70 years on earth with them!
So what’s my point?
Well, it’s that most parents will experience their kids as people far longer than they will as athletes.
And that’s what my dad (and he’ll happily admit it) didn’t understand for a long time.
But after realizing this, he changed.
He started doing these three things differently:
- He told me he loved watching me play after games.
- He didn’t bring up the game, he let me bring it up.
- He asked himself, “How do I want my kid to experience me?”
And because of that, our relationship is at a better place than it’s ever been.
I hope this article has challenged your thinking so you can improve the relationship you have with your kids.
Because at the end of the day, your relationship with your kids is the most important thing in life.
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