Wednesday, August 15, 2012

9yr Old Superstar Beats His Dad, Every time, Still loves His Mom

Observations from a coach, to parents. No, I don't have kids. 

This post is a reply to the feedback I received for this post (click here)

The truth is that kids don't need "training", they need someone to play around w/. In this case, I don't have time set aside for Jacob at the gym. It's not a workout, it's a playground to him, and he comes in whenever HE WANTS. We're literally just having fun. 8 years from now this will change but for right now, everything is playing around.

An interesting take away is that neither of his parents were there. Just his older sister Kate, Aunt Maggie, Grandma Janet and his uncle Adam. We (my sister, mom, and I) get to be part time playmate, part time "encouragers", or part time coaches in my case.

Idk if parents always take into consideration HOW they support their children. I don't have kids, and I'm sure things will change if I ever do, h/e I see plenty that come to the gym and what I see is that it's much more "monkey see, monkey do" than anything else. Sadly, this is NOT altogether always good either.

Note who she calls out after 45seconds.

This little girl is the daughter of Coach Martin Rooney who said, "Rule: One way to stand out is to be kind, fair and hard working in a world that often isn't."

Kids need a playmate, not a boss

Parents should be actively participating in their child/ren's lives. Kids don't need a coach at home (over encouraging/bearing parent) or a dead beat that leaves everything to time w/ their coach (parent that doesn't play catch, ask about their experience at the gym/practice/competition, or live any type of active/healthy lifestyle themselves). I see a mixture of both of these on a regular basis.

It's fairly common for parents to drive their kids to the gym and  SIT IN THE CAR while they're kid/s workout. This is of incredible interest to me (although I'd rather have them sit there than 'sit' inside). It makes me wonder what happens at home. 

Why would a kid ever:
    • get off the couch and go outside
    • perform hard work in a focused fashion
    • be honest w/ him/herself
    • or eat a vegetable 
If their parents are overweight, can't walk/run up a flight of stairs (race their kids), don't play basketball/catch/walk in nature (especially w/ their kids) and eat pizza or pasta 5x/wk (of which I do NOT mean 5days/wk, I definitely mean 5 times in one week)?

These are sincere questions

Kids are looking more and more like adults for a reason, and it's not their fault. It's ours. 

But then we give them a trophy for "participating". I don't really understand the sense of accomplishment there.

We're expecting kids to learn from this kind of behavior and we wonder what the problem is. It's US!! It is the ADULTS they are surrounded by.

Kids are learning from us!!!

It's NOT the Food Ind. It's the person in the mirror. We buy the food, we drive the market, and if you are a parent you teach your kids w/ every thing you do. GOOD/BAD. They'll make it their own but you deliver the message.

  1. Buy more good food, means more of that food on the shelves, more in their mouths
  2. Buy more junk, and more junk will be on the shelves
  3. Lie to kids, husband/wife, teachers or whoever else, and kid's surrounded by this will lie too. They learn
On the other hand
  1. Treat people w/ respect (kids, husband/wife, teachers, friends) so will kids, and vice versa
  2. Become an active participant in your kids sports/school/life by being an overly FUN person and they'll probably enjoy sports and school as well as have a happier, better outlook on life and a good relationship w/ activity
My experience keeps my mouth shut
I remember a very specific instance when my dad yelled at a referee during one of my older sister's basketball games (in his defense so did the rest of the crowd, repeatedly). To this day I remember how utterly stupid everyone looked, including him, and I was probably 8yrs old. Now I barely say a word when watching games. Any game, ever. In fact the only people I want to scream at are the ones in the stands.  

I got lucky and took the lesson in a good way. I could've taken it that this type of behavior was acceptable, of which it is NOT in ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, you are not on the field, mat, or court and anything you say makes you the bad guy to that official, meaning less calls go your teams way, your kid thinks it's acceptable to bully the official, and your kid has a worse experience in that sport. Simple and easy for me to say, but love your kid and realize it's about his/her experience not about a win/loss. Yes everyone wants to win, that comes later.

My experience also keeps me.....a big kid, pretty much

I'm not trying to fool anyone. We're all 11yr olds pretending to be "adults", and what I remember of my parents as a very young kid when it came to sports was a very interesting mix of play and lessons. About like it probably should be. 

So, when situations arise, I personally decide to be the biggest kid involved. Lead by example and let myself revert back to the days when running around and spontaneous play were the norm. It's a conscious decision but not one that's easily done, takes some time to let yourself be that free. By this I don't mean that I'm out there acting like a complete idiot, but I'm running around, kicking and/or throwing balls w/ them, suggesting ideas, etc. Basically leading them into involving themselves and having fun by playing.

This is what i would encourage from parents. 

Let coaches coach. When it's time to go home let the kid talk, express themselves and ask questions, a parent's opinion does NOT matter. For instance, say, "How did tonight go, what do you think, did you have fun?". Especially when they are below 12yrs of age.
  1. DISMISS MISTAKES!! Kids already know when they screw up w/o the acknowledgment of a parent. Esp during competition, it's embarrassing enough w/o a parent that they are trying to please making it known that the parent does not approve. If it's brought up by the kid, ask what they could've done differently and go w/ it, but AVOID CRITICISM AT ALL COSTS. Simple to say, difficult to accomplish, but try. 
  2. Be an active participant. PLAY w/ kids as if you were a kid. Energetic, creative, random, and w/o rules (guidelines-yes, rules-no). 
  3. Live by example: Be active, eat w/ purpose, live w/ integrity, strive for excellence in everything you do. Kids pick up on this, and take it as though that is what THEY are expected to do.  
  4. Learn as much as you can about yourself. Inner game work seems fluffy and dumb but we send and receive messages w/o need for acknowledgement. Evolution has programed our minds to work extremely well and taking care of insecurities, opening our minds, destressing, etc all lead to a happier, more confident life that will show up in children of parents that take steps to own their self .
Encouraging Psychology
To encourage looking towards your own psych in parenting and/or coaching I'm posting this as an example 

Most people end up dating some form of their parent. I date a version of my mom EVERY SINGLE TIME. I'm not a mama's boy either. If parents want their kid to date and end up w/ someone great, then parents need to show their spouse the kind of love they want their daughter or son to give or receive someday. 

Elliot Hulse talks about this, yeah he's weird. But "weird" is also just a difference from your "norms", want great kids, gotta look past what the normal parent does, just like anything else. 

Now, I'm not married, am far from perfect and have a string of bad relationships, meaning I need and continue to work on my inner self as well. 

My dad liked to do nice things for my mom, was abysmal when it came to accepting gifts but loves giving them and is generally not an observant person but terribly proud to be w/ her (as he should be, very seriously overshot his coverage). 

My mom has a temper, is headstrong much like me and loves to help people. 

Is it any wonder that I tend to fall for the tough, hard working, headstrong, and compassionate woman w/ a temper and deep vulnerability? Or that I am extremely observant, end up often making dinner or doing other little things that she'll never notice? No, b/c that's what my dad did or didn't do and how I learned to show love (even if I didn't realize it) and that's what my mom is, so that's what love seems like to me. 

Here's Elliot again to help reiterate my point in how important this really is to work on YOUR SELF. 

Get into your psychology
Books to buy and read include: 

Season of Life -Jeffrey Marx
I cannot speak of this book highly enough. It is a MUST READ for every parent and child entering the teenage years. Read and reread. MUST READ Season of Life -Jeffrey Marx!!

Blink -Malcolm Gladwell

The Inner Game of Tennis -Tim Gallwey

How to Develop Self-Confidence And Influence People By Public Speaking

How To Win Friends and Influence People

Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition

Season of Life -Jeffrey Marx
It's on here 2x's to reiterate the importance of reading this book. 

My Parents 
I was lucky that I had two parents that expected a high level of performance in everything we did, and they expect this from themselves as well. My mom is a juggernaut (get out of her way when shits gotta get done, immediately) and my dad is a thinker (everything must be perfect and if it's not, he's gonna do it himself, and it'll take forever). Between two extremes something panned out, hopefully.  

My Sports
My best sports happen to be ones that they could NOT relate to. You may wonder why, and it's probably b/c my parents couldn't give me advice, sympathize or even enjoy watching me participate/compete (at least at first, I really wasn't good at all). These sports were all mine, and what I did in that sport was of my doing. I'm a ridiculous maverick that has huge issues w/ authority w/ a very headstrong approach (definitely to a fault) and hold myself to a ridiculous expectations (to a fault). 

I still think basketball is a pathetic sport that teaches bad movement patterns and lazy habits. Golf is recreation (even if it is great recreation, it's still and adult sport). Baseball is best w/ a positive supporting cast (but it's an incredible game). Track is only fun if you win. 

But the lessons in football and wrestling cannot be matched. These two sports, and I'd have to say ESPECIALLY WRESTLING are the tops for character building and life lessons. 

In the end it's all about the small stuff

"The journey is better than the inn" Cervantes


Give kids what they are ready for, and until at least 10-12yrs, it's almost exclusively fun. The other lessons come w/ time. Until then it is our responsibility to own our inner strength and become the best possible parent, coach, uncle, or person that we can possibly be. 

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