The best thing that a parent can say to their kids after a game is really five simple words and that’s ‘I love watching you play’
Have you seen parents yelling and getting rowdy at youth sport games? Have you been that parent? The youth sports community has become more competitive throughout the years, but most of that competitiveness stems from parents and coaches. Kids In The House interviewed John O’Sullivan, founder of Changing The Game Project, to share with parents how they can redefine the youth sports community and teach the true meaning of success to young athletes.
O’Sullivan founded The Changing The Game Project in 2012 after two decades as a soccer player and coach on the youth, high school, college and professional level. He tells parents that one of the most important conversations they have with their child athlete is during the car ride home from the game.
“The best thing that a parent can say to their kids after a game is really five simple words and that’s ‘I love watching you play’,” he says.
O’Sullivan explains that too many parents use this time to overanalyze the game. He stresses the importance of understanding that kids simply need you to support them and let them relax at this time.
“This is the time when kids are physically and emotionally exhausted and they just want to unwind, and yet this is the time so many parents choose to criticize and critique their kid’s performance or the performance of the coach or the performance of their teammates,” says O’Sullivan. “And this is probably the least teachable moment.”
O’Sullivan also encourages parents of very talented athletes to help them see their value as an individual and not just focus every aspect of their lives around the sport they play.
“John does a great job teaching coaches and parents that they need to focus on the child’s personality rather than their performance,” says Leana Greene, CEO of Kids In The House. “I’ve seen so many parents define their child solely as an athlete and focus too much on the sport rather than their happiness.”
O’Sullivan teaches parents that a child’s “state of mind will determine how well they play.” As parents and coaches, he says adults need to encourage kids to play their best rather than play to win. This will help them as they progress and play at higher levels.
“The best players play with freedom,” he says. “They play without fear and they are not afraid of making errors. They can play up to their potential.”
Kids In The House is hosting a live Google Hangout broadcast on Thursday, April 23rd with John O’Sullivan, Natalie Hawkins, mother of Olympic Gold Medalist Gabrielle Douglas, John Haime, optimal sports psychologist, and Kevin Lake, film and branded entertainment executive who is currently producing “Playing It Forward” with Robert Downey Jr. and a documentary on former NFL player Steve Gleason.
For more advice on raising an athlete, watch all of John O’Sullivan’s videos on KidsInTheHouse.com.
About Kids in the House
Kids in the House is the world’s largest parenting video library with over 8,000 videos from 450 experts, including physicians, psychologists, researchers, educators, best-selling authors, and other celebrated voices in our culture. This website contains videos that feature parenting tips for all parenting styles from parents who have dealt with particular issues and can share their hard-earned wisdom.
Kids in the House is a place where parents have the opportunity to hear and share different perspectives and get solutions for parenting challenges that range from pregnancy to getting into college. The videos aim to help parents and caregivers become better at parenting by educating, inspiring, and entertaining. The videos are split into the following categories: All Parents, Pregnancy, Adoption, Baby, Toddler, Preschool, Elementary, Teen, and Special Needs.
Leana Greene, founder and CEO of Kids in the House, is a parenting trends expert and one of the top female entrepreneurs in the United States. She aims for this website to be the most comprehensive resource of parenting advice available—one that respects the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.