Â By Michelle Nosratian
Sports psychologist Tom Crawford stressed the importance of honorable competition and the role ofÂ parents in their children’s sports livesÂ at a Feb. 20 Parents Association event.
Approximately 150 parents and administrators attended the speech in Rugby Theater. Crawford,Â who spentÂ aÂ decade as the director of coaching for the United States Olympic Committee,Â gave parents tips on how to help their children get the most out of participating in athletics.
“Sports is a developmental experience, like any other type of education,” he said. He explained the three stages of a child’s sports life: the recreational participation stage during childhood, the transitional stage during adolescence, and the elite stage past young adulthood.
DuringÂ the recreational stage, he advocated sampling a variety of sports.Â The young athlete can choose one to focus on during the transitional stage, a period when he said parents need to be reminded of their role in the child’s sports life.
“You are a guest in the sports life of your child, and as a guest, mind your manners,” Crawford said.
He advised parents to avoid exhibiting negative emotions and behaviors toward the child or the child’s coach at practices, games or at home, as it could take a toll on the athletic performance of the child or may even result in a loss of interest in competition.
“The lesson kids learn from how you react as a parent develops character in them,” he said.