Secrets Of Parents Who Raised March Madness Players

College basketball fans are ecstatic about March Madness each year. March is a time of excitement and great entertainment for them. To players and their parents, March Madness has been 10-15 years in the making.

At a young age, the college basketball players exhibited the physical and mental gifts to play basketball. They stood out from other kids and attracted attention for years. They are now in college playing on a major stage. Some players are well rounded in and outside of basketball. Others are one dimensional and wrestle with self-management and independence.

Why do some athletes with the same physical talents develop into well rounded, self-responsible adults in sports, academics, relationships, and values, and others do not? A Talented Mind Clinic set out to answer that question by first exploring how the most responsible, rounded, elite athletes were parented. We wanted to know what their parents emphasized and focused on that influenced them to lead healthy lives during and after their sport.

Ten Sports Parenting Secrets

Through interviews, parents who raised independent and successful athletes shared ten secrets they used to parent and support children through long, successful sports careers. The ten secrets are based on our research of parents of Olympic, professional and elite Division I athletes who had successful careers and built well-rounded adult lives after retirement.

Secret 1: Have your own life— Parents have their own interests, hobbies, and friendships that do not involve their children.

Secret 2: Value all areas of your kid’s growth— Parents equally value and nurture all aspects of their child’s life, with sports being only one of many.

Secret 3: Academics is the top priority— When there is a top priority in the family for kids, it is most often academics, not sports.

Secret 4: Have your kids be fully responsible— Parents require that their kids self-manage all aspects of their sport, with minimal parent management.

Secret 5: Let a professional coach your child— Parents may have coached when their kids first started but stopped very early in the process. They also do not play “at-home coach” or second guess coaches.

Secret 6: Support your child’s sports aspirations, not your dreams— Parents’ expectations and dreams for their children in sports are always based on supporting their kid’s aspirations, not their own dreams.

Secret 7: Take responsibility for your own emotions— Parents have the ability to notice when their emotions about their kid’s sport and progress cross the line, and adjust their emotional reaction to a positive tone.

Secret 8: Applaud and support— Parents come to competitions to support everyone involved and show support for their kid’s effort. They do not criticize other teammates. They also never watch practices.

Secret 9: Do not be a member of the critics’ circle— Parents are not active members of the critics’ circle of parents who provide sideline commentary and critique of performances, athletes, game strategy, and coaches.

Secret 10: Have open and non-judgmental conversations— Parents enable their children to talk openly about their sports experience and accept their feelings with no judgement. Any post-competition discussions end when the athlete wants them to, then other life activities in the moment start taking priority.

Implementing the Secrets In Your Sports Parenting

If you are a sports parent, what secrets do you currently do well? Keep doing them. Which ones do you need to do more of that will make a difference in your child’s personal and athletic growth? Get started with one of them today. These secrets can have a lifelong impact on the health and happiness of your gifted athlete, and make you proud of them as wonderful, successful adults.