The following is a post by our president and COO, Lisa Strasman, who was captain of the hockey team at Yale University, and played professionally in Switzerland. Lisa regularly contributes to our blog.
My 4 year old son is currently at soccer, and I am sitting at home, writing.
No, this is not another article about work/life balance or why working mothers just can’t seem to have it all. Nor am I transitioning from my career at NCSA Athletic Recruiting.
Rather, this is a reminder to my future self that his athletic endeavors are about him. They are all about him, and not at all about me.
My advice for sport parents comes from my own experience.
As I’ve written about in the past, I always wanted to be a soccer mom — and a hockey mom, and any kind of sports mom, really.
I’m that athlete, I mean mother, who got chills watching her 18-month-old wear his first jersey to little kickers. Few things bring me more joy than watching my son listen intently to his “coach,” and participate in toddler drills and games.
But then there are the times he doesn’t listen at all. For a few weeks in a row, all my son wanted to do was cling on me and beg for fruit snacks. Not hard earned orange slices after practice, but fruit snacks and crackers and pretty much every excuse to sit by my side and not participate.
I suddenly realized that I was the problem. When anyone else took him to class, he jumped right into the action, but when I would join, for whatever reason, something changed.
I started to wonder if I was already one of those sports helicopter parents!
Our athletes have to learn to love the sport on their own.
I decided that at this extremely early stage, I would much rather he learn to participate and enjoy the activity than indulge myself as a spectator, leaving both of us frustrated.
So for the time being, my husband is on Sunday morning soccer duty, and I drink my glass of Gatorade in solidarity.
I’ve learned that everything with children is a phase, and I’m sure I’ll be back to cheering from the actual sidelines soon.
Who knows what my children will choose to make of athletics. I hope they enjoy many of the lessons and opportunities I gained from sports. But whatever twists and turns their careers take, I hope I always can remember that it’s 100% about them — 0% about me.
And that’s the best advice for sport parents anyone can hope to give, so we can all enjoy watching our kids play together.
Youth athletics is a precious gift. Let’s all remember that, and cherish the opportunity to support our kids, whether they are a little kicker or the next college recruit.
The recruiting experts at NCSA Athletic Recruiting are here because of their shared passion for sports, and the wisdom they share with sport parents.
The best way to help your athlete on the path to college, is to start with a recruiting profile.