The desire to see your child do well is usually what motivates sports parents to start pushing. No mom or dad enjoys seeing a child sit too long on the bench or play below his or her potential in the game. Watching your child give a half-hearted effort is frustrating. Whether it’s in school, sports, or chores, parents are always looking for answers on how to help their kids “try harder.”
There is no quick fix for motivation, but the first step is to recognize that a lack of motivation is probably related to the fact that your child is either discouraged or is not enjoying the sport. Once you recognize that their lack of trying is related to something deeper, you can begin to get to the root of the problem and start pushing your child in positive ways.
Not all pushing is bad. In fact, I would say that positive pushing can be very beneficial for your child. The difference between positive pushing and the negative pushing that parents tend to resort to in frustration is huge.
Negative pushing uses comparison, bribery, shaming, and nagging.
Positive pushing or constructive pushing looks much different: Here’s how you can “push” in a positive way:
Ask the right question after practices or games
How did practice go? How did you feel about your game tonight? One or two questions show your interest, while too many can feel like you are pressuring your athlete.
Offer opportunities for your child to work outside of practice
If they say no, bring it up at another time when they are ready to work on improving.
Be at as many games as you can
It communicates your support and may encourage self-pushing.
Offer praise for hard work
It communicates support without attaching your love to their performance.