Picture this for a minute – your son (or daughter’s) college team is down by two points in the NCAA Championship game with time quickly winding down. The play the coach drew up during the last time out has broken down and things are looking desperate. As if on cue the ball ends up in your son's hands and after making one of the greatest moves in the history of the NCAA Tournament he drains a 3 pointer a mere nanosecond before the buzzer sounds.
Minutes later you and the rest of the basketball world are watching the replay as "One Shining Moment" plays in the background. Kind of cool to think about, isn't it? Now let's be honest - have you ever thought about that (or something similar) before?
Chances are that if you're like a lot of parents you've had that dream several times before - possibly even more times than your son or daughter has! Of course there is nothing wrong with that as long as it doesn't have a negative effect on how you raise your future MVP. Here are 6 suggestions that might help keep you on the right track:
1. It has to be his (her) dream
Being a great player can be his dream and not your dream. It can be his dream and your dream. It just can't be your dream only! If it is you might see some temporary "success" but in the long run you're setting up your child for disappointment and failure which could result in a lifetime of resentment.
2. Wag more, bark less
It's not uncommon for kids today to have a school coach, a club coach, a shooting coach, a skill development coach and a strength coach. The last thing they need is another coach at home telling them what to do and critiquing every mistake, flaw, and shortcoming. What your kid needs is a parent who is going to love him and encourage him and support him no matter what happens. It's also important to note that you can and should do these things without criticizing and/or undermining his real coaches.
3. Don't add to the pressure
Encourage and support is good. Added pressure is bad. When I watch club ball I see a lot of kids who are early developers and not necessarily future college prospects. Faster, quicker, stronger, and taller at 10 doesn't always mean faster, quicker, stronger, and taller at 18. Help him be all that he's capable of becoming but don't build him up to be something that he's not. Once you're up on a pedestal there's only one direction you can go and that is down!
4. Don't embarrass him
It seems like every team has that one parent who is loud, obnoxious, and overly critical of everything and everyone. Don't be that parent!
If you are that parent one of two things is going to happen. Either your child is going to become loud, obnoxious, and overly critical or he is going to get tired of his teammates and their parents making fun of you (and him) and quit playing. Neither option helps him in any way, shape, or form. He's only going to be a player for a few years but is going to be your son forever.
5. Reinforce life lessons
The best thing about being a basketball player is not what you get but what you become. Don't constantly praise your child for the skills he possesses; praise him for the work ethic,
perseverance, sacrifice, and determination that it takes to be a player. Sometimes you can do all the right things and still not be considered super successful so teach him the importance of keeping his poise when things go wrong and how to bounce back from both individual and team defeats.
6. Make it fun
It's been estimated that approximately 3.3% of high school players make a college roster after they graduate. The number of high school players that eventually make it to the NBA is about .03%. That means the vast majority of those players (and their parents) who only play so they can get a college scholarship or make it to the NBA are going to be disappointed in the outcome. The journey has to be worthwhile; it has to be fun. Enjoy the experience and help your child do the same!