Archive for the ‘Youth sports’ category

Happy Turkey Day

November 25, 2010
FAmily time is pizza time. Family dinner is every night of the week not just Thanksgiving. It's where you learn etiquette and manners and connect to your family, and feel like you belong. It is the best anti-drug, anti-smoking, anti-alcoohol strategy. Family time will keep your child out of trouble. Teens, tweens, and teenagers need family time. Making homemade Pizza is a great way to spend time together.

Ian creating one of his specialities -- home-made pizza. I think it is better than Thanksgiving dinner.The view of our kitchen yesterday afternoon. Chaos! Fun! Delicious!

 YAY Thanksgiving! Yay family time! What a great excuse to get together and spend time with each other.
Not everyone’s holiday is as happy today. There is a story in today’s Boston Globe about the cancellation of the annual Maynard-Clinton Thanksgiving Day Game in Massachusetts. School officials cancelled the game after four of the squad’s 16 players were caught drunk over the previous weekend.
People are disappointed and some think the consequence is too harsh. I disagree. How will these young men learn that their decisions have repercussions? That what they do has an impact on others.
The incident is a wake-up call for the players’ parents. How do these young men get the alcohol? Where is the parental supervision? I can only guess that some parents are really angry over the decision and think their teen has been treated unfairly.
By behaving irresponsibly, the young men let their team, school and community down. Hopefully, they will learn from this experience and it will benefit them. When young people never feel the impact of their choices, their behavior escalates. The school’s decision is related, respectful and reasonable [thanks to Jane Nelsen, Ph.D. for those three Rs of natural and logical consequences.]
When punishment is used, youngsters can respond with rebellion, resentment and revenge. When the consequence is fair — I’m sure those players knew the rules — young people learn to accept the responsibility for their behavior.
The way to learn to make better decisions is to feel the pain from bad decisions. If we don’t feel pain, we don’t learn. These young men have gotten enough rope to burn, but not enough to hang. I volunteer in prison where men are serving long sentences for making disastrous, even fatal choices. They have much time to contemplate their mistakes on this special day.
Enjoy your holiday today.
Here is our family working together to get thankgiving dinner all ready. We cooked for a few hours together in preparation. I love cooking with my family, It's a great way to teach children to cook and to spend quality family time. Parenting is all about spending time together and teaching children what you know about life. Discipline becomes not as urgent when you spent quality time with children, tweens and teens, even if they say "leave me alone."

The view of our kitchen yesterday afternoon. Chaos! Fun! Delicious!


Encouragement and the next Venus Williams

September 24, 2010
Encouragement is one of the most powerful ways to influence children. Encouragement is so much better than praise. Encouragement can change your relationship with your child.

Photo by Steven Pike.

I saw an incredible example of encouragement last night at the community tennis courts.

Just before dark, a father pulled up with a basket of balls and his daughter, about 7 years old. She skipped out to the court with a racket. Dad began gently hitting balls to her, which she began swinging and mostly missing.

This is what dad said — these are direct quotes:

  • Good!
  • That was your best swing! (after she had swung and missed)
  • Yup.
  • Keep your eye on the ball.
  • Wow! That was a good shot! (after the ball careened out-of-bounds)
  • Keep your head up.
  • Nice.
  • That was your best swing.
  • That was too close to your body, nice swing, though.

I could feel the tenderness with which he hit the ball to her. His patience and encouragement — noting effort made — captivated me.

She said, “Dad, can you do a high one now?”

Dad immediately complied with five lobs,which she either hit into the net or out-of-bounds. Dad offered a correction, “Turn your body sideways.” When she slammed a ball down, he growled and said, “That’s nasty.”

Dad kept his voice calm and even as she swung and missed until darkness descended 20 minutes later.

Dad walked around the court and picked up the balls while daughter bounced a ball on a racket — which is good practice.

Saint Dad is dedicated to his daughter learning to play tennis. I would have involved daughter in picking up the balls, of course. He made it fun for her. I was jealous of the time and attention daughter had with dad.

No matter what role tennis will play in the daughter’s life, they are setting up a fun activity they can do together for a long time.

I want to be there the day daughter beats dad! That’s always a triumph.

I remember playing backyard volleyball with my father and our big family. I treasure those memories — and it gave me a skill and can-do attitude for life towards sports.

What sports did you do with your family?

Get a life, mom and dad

February 25, 2010
When will parents learn to behave themselves at youth sports games? Coaches of a YMCA league in Southbridge have banned parents from attending playoffs because the parents yell at referees and one another. Parents do not know how to conduct themselves.

Parents: remember the operative word is "play" in playing basketball. Photo courtesy of

The Boston Globe reported that parents of a Southbridge YMCA youth basketball league were banned from the playoff games because too many parents yell at referees and each other.

The players are between fifth and eight grade. The parents are unable to show sportsmanship, another word for civil behavior around a game, which is meant to play for fun and enjoyment.

When I coached soccer in the 1990s, most parents in our suburban league acted appropriately, except for a few extreme incidents.

It’s the extremes that make the news, like the hockey father in Reading, Mass., who went to jail for manslaughter after killing another hockey dad in the locker room.

Parents are disconnected from the sport and blinded by a strong  need for their children to win.

One of my fellow soccer coaches made the parents of her players scrimmage on the first day of practice. The parents experienced how difficult it was to do what they had been admonishing their children to do!

The Southbridge parents might benefit from some court time. If they had their own fun, they wouldn’t have to ruin the fun of the children.

I’ve seen young soccer referees get harassed by parents when the ref gaining field time by refereeing micro players — all 5 years old. Some parents are way too over-involved and over-competitive, and deserve to be banned.

Why do parents care so much about youth sports leagues?

  • They view their children as possessions whose purpose in life is to make the parents look good.

  • They’re not healthy enough to play basketball so they live through their children.

  • They have no idea of sportsmanship.

What do you think is going on in the minds of these crazed parents?