In Becoming a Champion, Parents' Role in Youth Sports, Problems in Youth Sports

As a kid, tennis was the thread that held my life together
It was the one place in my world where I felt valued,
Where I could go to feel good about myself,
Where I dared to dream….
Where I could go to calm myself down,
And find real joy and fulfillment…

It became my primary means of coping with the stressors of growing up and feeling like I never fit in….
It’s where I went for a shot of self-esteem every day…

And like any young boy, I desperately longed to have my parents, especially my dad, acknowledge and respect my hard work and efforts on the court. I longed to hear him say how proud he was of me and my accomplishments….

I would have given the world to have him validate me in this way, to have him want to watch me play….to hear him cheering from the sidelines….

But tennis wasn’t important to him…he thought it was a waste of my precious time…He wanted me to be more “well rounded,” because he thought I spent too much time on the court…He believed I was stunting myself…..

And because HE didn’t value what was most important to ME,
It felt as if, he didn’t value ME as his son…

Make what’s most important to your KIDS, MOST important to YOU….
Support THEIR dreams and nurture THEIR passions…
Be proud of THEIR accomplishments…
Don’t superimpose what YOU think is important onto them!
Let them have THEIR goals and interests, and celebrate those with them…

That boyhood passion shaped who I am today.


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