In Positive Sports Parenting: How Second-Goal Parents Raise Winners in Life Through Sports, Jim Thompson encourages parents to become “Second-Goal” parents. This means that parents do not emphasize the first goal (winning the game), but focus on the second goal of sports (life lessons, self-confidence, physical fitness, grace in victory and defeat).
My husband and I had the opportunity to participate in a workshop for parents with children in youth sports and received this book as part of our registration fee. Obviously, youth sports are awesome for kids on many levels. However, too often games become breeding grounds for disputes between coaches and referees, parents and coaches, and worst of all, parents and their children. It is painful to sit in the stands and watch while parents shout out “tips” to their child while seeing the players shoulders slump lower and lower while they are on the field.
Positive Sports Parenting focuses on encouraging children to have fun while playing. It is always nice to win, but players can be winners without winning the game. Thompson also offers advice for how parents can encourage and support their players non-verbally during the game. Aren’t parents supposed to be encouraging to their players? I also like the suggestions for conversations following the game for parents to help their players recognize the correlation between hard work during practice and performance during the game.
If you are a parent, grandparent, or guardian that attends sporting events with a child, this book is a must-read! I wish I had a hundred copies to pass out at the local little league park!