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Problems In Sports: Ensuring Positive Sports Experiences for Teens

There’s plenty of evidence that playing sports is great for teenagers. It’s regular exercise, and the research also shows teenage athletes tend to do better in school and are less likely to engage in risky behavior. However, there are problems in sports, particularly when parents and coaches focus too much on winning. In this series of videos, Jim Bucci from Positive Coaching Alliance offers some helpful advice on keeping sports positive for your teenager.

Creating Positive Sports Experiences For Teens

Video #1: Before You Give Advice, Ask Your Kid If They Want It


When your child is out there competing, whether it’s sports, or musical theater, or cheerleading, or dance, or whatever it is, every parent wants the best for their child. They don’t want to see them fail. You know, when I see something out on the court, I want to help him. But when I try to tell him, he doesn’t want to hear it, he tunes me out. So the advice that I have heard and that I use now with my son, is that I’ll ask for his permission first.

I’ll say, “Hey Joey, you know, I really enjoyed watching you guys play out there, you guys played a great game. In the second quarter I noticed something that I think might be able to help you later on going forward in the next game. Do you mind if I tell you? Do you want to talk about it?” And if he says yes, then he’s basically giving me that permission to talk to him about it. And obviously you do it in a positive manner, you don’t say “Well you shouldn’t have done this” but you know, maybe try this instead.


Video #2: When Your Kid Sits on the Bench


In a situation where a child is coming to practice every day, working hard, and never gets to play in the game, if the coach has laid that out, that effort is going to be rewarded, and that all the kids will be playing, I think that you have a very good reason to talk to that coach and just ask him. “You know, at the beginning of the season, these were the parameters that you laid out that would result in playing time. My son or daughter hasn’t missed a practice from what I see, and what she’s telling me is that she’s working hard in practice. Is there a problem in practice? Is there something I should be aware of, and what does she need to do to gain that playing time?”

Jim Bucci is the former Executive Director of the Positive Coaching Alliance

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