We (athletes) are our own biggest critics –
My dad tells a story about a time when we were driving home from a travel soccer game. I didn’t play particularly well this game, and the car was screaming with silence. We both sat there staring out the window and I could tell that my dad was itching to say something. As I broke my forward gaze and moved it over in his direction, it seemed to be an invitation for him to speak his mind. He spoke in a helpful tone (which I now realize is a blessing compared to some of you parents), but the advice still felt as though I was under attack, because I was already fully aware of my shortcomings in the game. “You should try this next time..” “You did this a little too much…” If I were you…” Once he shared all that was on his mind, the car fell silent again. In a very calm but stern tone, I told him, “Thanks Dad, but don’t you ever critique my game again.” Call this response disrespectful if you would like, but understand that athletes who are serious about the sport are always the hardest on themselves when it comes to a lack of performance. Yes, there are cases where your feedback is necessary, but understand that it is only productive if your committed athlete is seeking your advice. Because my dad was able to patiently respect my request, I admired and sought out opinions of the game much more.
For any parent willing to respond, Please share one important thing that athletes need to understand about their parents. Email Stefanie.firstname.lastname@example.org