Sideline Coaching, What To Do and What Not to Do.
As parents it can be very hard to watch your child in an activity, even if they are doing really well. Parents always want to help their child succeed in any way they can, including shouting encouragement from the sideline or the back of class, or “coaching” them on which foot they are supposed to move next. Positive or negative, this can hinder your child’s ability to perform to their maximum potential.
Let’s look at an example in martial arts, although this can apply to any activity or sport. Sparring is a fast-paced, highly focused, and sometimes high-stress activity in which your child needs to use all of their brain power on the task at hand. Here are some examples of the things that may be running through their mind while sparring:
- What combination am I going to use?
- What is my opponent going to do?
- What did my instructor tell me I need to focus on?
- What did my parent just say?
- What did the other student just say?
- What happens if I get hit?
- How much time do I have left?
This is all happening within a matter seconds. That’s a lot to process, even for adults Adding to it with commentary, either positive or negative, can have a huge impact on their ability to process quickly, which can also have an affect on their emotional stability.
It’s important to remember that it can be distracting for everyone in the room as well,, including other students, parents, and the instructors. So remember, even if you have the best of intentions, there are better, more productive ways to help your child:
- Provide encouragement and helpful tips before class or competition.
- During the activity remain silent unless your child looks directly to you for support or advice.
- After class or competition provide constructive feedback and encouragement.
Hopefully this helps you better understand sideline coaching and the best ways to encourage your child in their extracurricular activities. The goal should always be to foster healthy growth, and of course, to have fun together during these activities.