In Parents' Role in Youth Sports, Problems in Youth Sports

Let’s go parents! Time’s a wasting! Take advantage NOW of our special parental formula for creating the next Andre Agassi or super champion! Want your son or daughter to become wildly famous, win millions in prize money, have lucrative endorsement contracts and put your name in the front running for parent of the decade?

If you can begin to hear that Olympic theme playing loudly in your head, then you know you’re ready! Here’s what you do:

Start your kid real early, perhaps 3 or 4 years old. Heck, why wait that long! You may even want to consider beginning the training sooner by sticking a racket, football or baseball bat (depending upon your sport of choice) in their crib right after birth. Remember, they’re never too young for you to help them start to pursue greatness.

Next, you have to be sure that you push your child mercilessly, relentlessly and continuously. Kids nowadays just don’t understand what it really takes to achieve all that glamour and greatness so it’s your job as a parent to help them keep this whole thing in perspective, to help them come to realize that becoming a champion is not all fun and games. You have to work hard! You have to practice. You have to take this thing seriously! So be sure to impose your will on them as soon as possible!

Along these lines, understand that you have to establish control right away and make them see what their priorities should be, i.e. YOURS! It really helps here if you can treat them a little harshly. Y’know, a little bit of TOUGH LOVE! Remember, this harsh treatment is necessary to build character and inner strength over the long haul. Keep in mind that there’s no room for softies at the top! So don’t go messing this process up by allowing your son or daughter to cry their way out of this thing or take a lot of time off to play mindless kids’ games and waste valuable time.

Mike Agassi, Andre’s dad knew this real well. He had his son, by the time Andre was 7 years old, hitting some 2,500 balls a day against dad’s specially designed ball machine. Mike was perceptive and knew exactly what it took to become a champion. He pushed his little Andre hard, establishing the correct order of things right away. That is, “I, as the parent, am in charge of your sport and your life! I, as your parent, know what’s best for you! It is I who will make you a champion. So you better listen to me or else!”

So what, if by the ripe old age of 7, Andre was deathly afraid of his dad? Remember, you need a lot of discipline to become a champion! Who cares if Andre hated tennis with a passion? This is serious business to become the #1 ranked player in the world and so if you don’t always love what you’re doing or don’t always have fun, then that’s just too bad, suck it up and do it anyway! You think your kid can do that “hanging around with his friends playing video games” or only practicing an hour a day thing and get good? No Way!!!!!

Next, you have to be sure that you as the loving, caring parent are really involved with every aspect of your son or daughter’s game and development. You must oversee their coaching. You must oversee their cross training. You must closely monitor what they eat and how much sleep they get. And don’t forget their friends. You had better keep very close tabs on that one! Wouldn’t want them hanging around with unmotivated slugs! In short, you must be a talented micromanager! You can’t leave something this important to just any old coach. Besides, who in the world could ever care as much as you, the parent? That’s right! NO ONE! And, who in the world always knows what’s best for their child? Right again! Only YOU!

So Mike Agassi made sure that Andre hit the ball correctly and hard enough, and when he didn’t, responsible dad Mike did what all caring, loving fathers do! He put the fear of god into his son to hit it better, faster and harder. So what if after a while his son started feeling emotionally like an object? Who cares if that little boy’s feelings were continually being stepped on and brutally crushed? So what if Andre felt invisible and emotionally all alone? Nothing great can ever happen by mamby-pambying a kid’s feelings. If you do that, then they’d just end up soft as a grape! Besides, the #1 ranking in the world is at stake here! You don’t win any Majors by being bogged down with all these childhood emotions!

And let’s not forget a critical job of yours as a parent: You are the quality control dude! It’s up to you to set the standards high and demand excellence. You have to clearly communicate that nothing short of that will be tolerated. This means that you have to be willing and able to offer critical feedback and plenty of it! And nothing drove Mike Agassi into a rage more than when Andre hit the ball into the net. Help your kids understand that making mistakes is intolerable and that to avoid your anger, they must be perfect!

As part of your quality control role with your son or daughter, it’s important, no, it’s absolutely critical that you be stingy with praise. Too much praise makes athletes soft and weak. So withhold positive reinforcement whenever you get a chance. Trust me on this one. Too much of the positives will backfire on you! Mike Agassi had this principle down pat! In fact, the guy had not clue one how to be positive with his little boy. Remember, if you don’t root out the mistakes and weaknesses, if you’re not continually critiquing, then your kid will never make it big!

And finally, to properly mold a champion you must teach your child to be uber-competitive. You must help them understand that winning is the only thing that matters, in everything! Then again, even winning is a failure if you’re not perfect when you win. Mike Agassi taught this lesson as only a master could! You’ve got to be the best when you’re the best. if you screw up along the way, then this is where you should focus, always on where your shortcomings are. Don’t waste any energy praising victories when they are filled with poor play and mistakes!

So, if you follow the above prescription, and you really stick with it, despite the occasional whining from your child, then you too can become the proud father of a Wimbledon champion, the personal architect of a Hall of Famer!

SIDE EFFECTS: I would be remiss here if I didn’t point out a few of the minor side effects of this prescription. Your son or daughter may end up in so much emotional pain from your fine parenting and micro-managing that they may become a candidate for long-term, extensive psychotherapy. They may also, because of their psychic pain, engage in addictive, self-destructive behavior. I’m sure this is exactly why Andre was using crystal meth. Your kids may also come to really hate their sport. But, hey! You can’t have everything! Andre got this one down right away at 7 years old. HE ABSOLUTELY HATED TENNIS! And then there’s this really minor side effect of this prescription for success. Your child may come to REALLY HATE YOU FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIFE along with all of the help you offered them over the years to become successful. I suppose this is why Andre became estranged from his father.


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