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October 24 2021 5:54 AM ˚

The effect of parental intervention in training, player development and continuity in the game

OP-ED Samer Taha
(Photo: Envato Elements)
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AMMAN — We all know how happy a parent can be with his/her son or daughter, especially when they are engaged in sports and show early signs of “talent”.اضافة اعلان

However, to what extent can parental involvement in training and development negatively or positively affect the player’s development and continuity in the game?

How many times have we seen parents carry digital watches in swimming championships and object to the result? How many times have we seen parents object to the referees and scold their children in front of everyone, thinking that this is in the interest of their child?

First, by virtue of my work as a director of sports activities for more than twenty years, I would like to present some vivid examples of what I witnessed in sports.

Football

I saw “talent” with my own eyes, and they were young, distinct from everyone, skilled and mature. After puberty, all physical characteristics changed, and some of these “talents” do not develop as expected and lose their edge over their peers. 

These “talented” individuals lost their desire to continue, with some moving into another sport, and even then they fail to achieve.

Basketball

One of the biggest mistakes is judging a player’s ability at an early age and labelling him/her as talented, as is the case in football, too.

There is an example of a five-year-old basketball player who received great media attention and he was also under pressure from his family.

This also puts pressure on coaches and federations, and eventually, the player did not develop. He did not develop due to his physical immaturity and remained a hostage to the control of the parents and their constant interference.

The examples are many and varied in many sports, and I personally have been exposed to more than one situation that witnessed the interference of parents with coaches, referees, substitutions, training method and coach selection.

For example, one of the parents asked one of the coaches, who is specialized in sports psychology, to talk to his son. When the coach started the questions, the player looked at his father whenever he was asked any question, the coach then sat in a way in which his body would prevent the player from seeing his father.

The player started crying once he was asked if he liked the sport his father is “assigning” him to, and refused to answer, fearing his father would disagree.

If you want your son/daughter to achieve success, continue playing the game and develop in it, there are instructions that you must follow with your son/daughter, with the coaches and the community before adulthood:

1) I should not force my son to choose the sport I like, but the one he likes.

2) The purpose of exercise at an early age is to have fun, not to compete.

3) I (and whoever comes in to support) must be positive during the match while cheering and encourage sportsmanship.

4) I (and whoever comes in to support) must not encourage any action that violates the spirit of sports and reduces the respect of referees and organizers.

5) I must teach my son to respect everyone and to not differentiate between anyone because of his abilities, color, religion, race or gender.

6) I must instruct my children to do their best and not to focus on winning or losing.

To sum up, I know how proud parents are of their children and what they achieve, but their negative interference could be the end for their children.

I can almost confirm that the athletes who witnessed the improper intervention of their families did not continue with any sport or did not achieve any significant achievement at the professional level.

With huge numbers of failed examples of improper interference of the parents, makes us wonder, what makes such parents act in a way in which they believe they know better than anyone what should be done during their child’s athletic development without any scientific or professional background? 

I hope that parents understand that what they are doing is harmful to their children and does not help their sports career.

Leave the development of your son/daughter to the specialists and enjoy your sons performances, their development, their victories, and be by their side when they lose. Why not, you might see them as future champions then?

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