A 3 Step Guide To A Great Car Ride Home
Parents, do you ever feel as if you are stuck on what to say to your child after a long day on the field? Now, normally on the good days, where your child has a few hits and played well the conversation might seem easy.
A quick, “Good Game”, or “Wow, way to play today!” In hopes that your son or daughter will take over the conversation with how they felt, or the play-by-play from their perspective of being on the field.
Well with all good things, comes the bad, and in those times, do you feel as if you freeze up?
Or do you feel as if the awkward silence has weight within the room, and you are finding any way to make it less stressful?
Being a college athlete, I have endured countless car rides home, some of them being my parents and I interrupting each other in excitement over the unbelievable plays made in the game and some of them being dead silent.
Though there were the bad days where no one knew what to say, not even me, those were the days that helped shaped me into the player and man I am today.
Parents, here are some helpful hints and insight into the ways to effectively communicate through the good and bad days your child will go through when playing this game.
Hint #1: BE SUPPORTIVE
No matter what kind of day your child is having, be there. Tell them how the game personally made you feel like a supporting figure, but then after, LISTEN.
For several years in my life, I believe I felt like I held my true opinions internally on the game until I was alone and could express myself. This was not healthy, as I was bottling up my emotions, rather than expressing them.
Parents, please, let your children who are passionate about their sport(s) express themselves, they need to get the emotions out and in the open in order to best cope and move forward.
Just like us adults, when we hold things in, rather than expressing them it negatively impacts our emotional aura.
Children experience this as well when playing sports, so rather than sitting in the car in silence, even if it was a tough day at the field, make sure you show support and engage in getting your children to express how they are feeling after each game, proving your true support, as well as helping them move forward.
When children see you care for their feelings, and you give them the opportunity to express themselves, it shows them how much you truly care, and are there for them as a true support system in their life both as an athlete, and an individual in this world.
Hint #2: Communicate WITH your Child, Rather than TO Them
Being an athlete you put a tremendous amount of pressure on yourself to succeed. In the game of baseball, you see as each player goes through an emotional rollercoaster throughout each game based on the different outcomes and circumstances that come within a baseball game.
Being that athletes apply so much pressure to themselves when we are faced with failure, on numerous accounts our first reaction is to be upset with ourselves for not being successful.
What this does over time is break us down, and then what we need most after is for the people we love most to adapt with us and feel as we do base on the outcomes of the current game.
Take this, for example, your son/daughter has the game of his life, goes 4-4 with a walk-off home run, the success and emotions he will feel this day will normally be much different than the day he happens to go 0-4 with 2 strike-outs.
What we tend not to realize is the significance of what they were truly feeling in those moments. Rather than saying “Today was just a tough day”, or “You tried your best”, try encouraging them by asking what they were feeling that specific day. Or, ask them what they felt did not work one day, compared to the day they were successful.
Questions that make the athlete reflect on their current states within the game will positively lead to them reflecting, and working towards better execution in the future.
Allowing your children to learn from their mistakes is a normal want for most parents, so applying the same core values to the sport they love, will show them you are there for them, rather than just there to watch.
Work with your child on coming to resolve or a solution to work for come the next time he/she touches the diamond.
Referring to the emotional side of baseball, rather than just the physical demand that comes with playing this sport will give your child insight into the larger aspect of this game.
That being, that the majority of true-life lessons you learn can be easily implemented to the game of baseball, thus making them realize in the end that we truly are still just ‘playing a game’.
Paying attention to how your child is feeling within, and effectively getting he/her to communicate it with you will lead to healthier coping remedies come the next time they feel this way, either after another game or after a life event.
Communication is key, and doing so with your child, rather than directing comments at him will better lead to fluent and healthy conversation in the car ride home from both good and bad performances.
Adjust your topics, to the things your athlete has been feeling or is expressing with you, in order to give off the most effective and efficient communication to your child.
Being an athlete is not easy, but having a support system, and someone to turn to effectively communicate when you need too is detrimental in the overall success of any athlete and person in this world.
Hint #3: Explain the Bigger Picture
Being an athlete myself, it took me a long time to see the relevance, and the overall outcomes you learn from playing the game of baseball.
There are countless life lessons I am going to take away from this game, that I never truly realized at a young age.
These lessons are something I believe children need to learn to not only see but also act upon starting at a much younger age.
Learning when to be effectively aggressive, as well as learning to control your breathing in order to better control yourself in each situation is something I wish I would have understood earlier, and it is something I believe parents can show and explain to their kids based on what each child felt and expresses to you after a game.
These moments that we as baseball players express as, “Oh I just missed that, next time I have to be ready just a little sooner” or, “Man, I didn’t expect that base-runner to do that, next time I will learn and expect them to attempt to score on the same opportunity”.
These sayings, the little things that lead to us making adjustments are things adults do every day. Whether that be, planning to leave for work a few minutes earlier on a Monday, due to traffic being a little worse than normal, or you have to accommodate to an unexpected meeting within the workplace.
These adjustments on our toes, and learning to work with them rather than making excuses to be defeated by them are things your children will one day face.
So, simply explain that to them, use their examples to better them for the world outside the white-lines, as well as within them, this way come other challenges they face, or competition that arises within their life, they will be better prepared to work to become successful.
As much as we who endure in this game love it, there is more to life and we ALL know that. But, as a child I remember thinking there was nothing more important than finding a way to win a game, the thing is that mentality should go hand-in-hand with the mentality we as athletes have outside the field as well.
As parents, make sure you express the fact that there is more to life and that these things your athlete is experiencing are things that will come up over and over again within their life, and it takes the ability of continuously making adjustments in order to best accommodate to each situation we face.
This game comes with so many highs, and lows. So many emotions and feelings that are hard to explain in words at times.
But athletes need a support system, one that is there to communicate with you and help you understand the emotions you are feeling. The life lessons and experiences that come with the game are ones that need to be remembered, and if effectively communicated and reviewed, can be detrimental in further success in life.
The car ride home from games has never been an easy task, yet I hope these hints make it a bit more impactful and beneficial for the family as a whole.