What We Should Say When Our Kids Perform

The most liberating words parents can speak to their student-athletes are quite simple. Based on psychological research, the three healthiest statements moms and dads and/or guardians can make as they perform are:

Before the Competition:

Have fun.
Play hard. 
I love you. 
Six Simple Words… 
    After the competition:

Did you have fun?
I’m proud of you.
I love you.


For years, I wondered what the student-athlete would say about this issue. After decades of work with athletes, Bruce E. Brown and Rob Miller found out. They suggest six simple words parents can express that produce the most positive results in their performing children. After interacting with students, they report:

College athletes were asked what their parents said that made them feel great, that amplified their joy during and after a game. Their overwhelming response:

“I love to watch you play.”

That’s it. Those six words. How interesting. How liberating to the parent. How empowering to the student-athlete. No pressure. No correction. No judgment. (That’s the coach’s job). Just pure love of their child using their gift in competition.

Thank you again for all your time and investment that you have already put into your child's season.  It is truly appreciated by all of us at the Hawks.  The time your child has as a youth athlete is very short, let it be their own time, their own game, their own team, with you there to tell them at the end of each game, "I love to watch you play."

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