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Do’s and Don’ts

We adults give kids do's and don'ts all the time. Parents here are your Do's and Don'ts to help your kids succeed.


  • Model a love of the game and learning.

  • Cheer for your child, but you don’t need to do it loud enough that they hear you.

  • Compliment or praise your child’s effort, not their performance.

  • Purposely miss a competition every now and then.

  • Wait 24 hours after a competition to talk to your child about it.

  • Ask your child (over 10 years old) “Who are you becoming because of (fill in the sport)?”


  • (DON’T) tell them that they are a “natural.”  While this sounds good (and feels good for us), it is proven to be one of the worst things you can do and has a negative affect on your child’s performance.  Read Mindset, by Carol Dweck, PhD.

  • (DON’Ttell them it’s easy.  It may be easy for you, but you’re an adult and you may have had a better teacher than what you are. It also may come back to haunt you when they are spotting you points (and Advil) in a couple of years. Stress learning not performance.

  • (DON’Twatch your child’s practice.  If you’re confident in their safety, then leave.  Your kids will most likely have more fun, learn more, take more risks and perform better when you are not there.  They really don’t need you watching their every move!

  • (DON’Tcriticize a bad call.  Life is full of unfair situations. Use it as a teaching moment to build your character and theirs.

  • (DON’Tblast your child for a mistake.  You need to view mistakes for exactly what they are; mistakes. Mistakes are part of the learning process. Give your kids a break. If they keep occurring it is often a sign that they were taught incorrectly. Use it as a teaching moment. They are NOT trying to just tick you off! How YOU handle their mistakes will often have more to do with their SUCCESS than their “talent.” does.

  • (DON’Thave your child specialize in one sport.  There is absolutely NO evidence that early specialization produces better athletes. In fact, there is great evidence that it leads to overuse injuries and most often to BURNOUT. Additionally, most professional athletes were multi-sports athletes through their middle years of high school. Early maturing sports like gymnastics are an exception, and very rare.  75% of Olypmians are later maturing athletes.

  • (DON’Tfollow what everyone else is doing!  70% of kids quit youth sports by the age of 13. If you follow everyone else, you’re more likely to have your child be one of the dropouts. Be intentional. Be different. Be smart. Be developmentally focused for your child’s best chance at success.

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