Be A Supportive Twirling Parent And Contribute To Your Twirler’s Success!

We’ve all seen them.

The pushy parent, who says to the tearful, exhausted child, “you need to do ten more 2-spins so you don’t drop that trick next time!”

The pleading parent, who is often begging or bribing a child who clearly would rather be doing something else. “Just do it once more and we’ll go out for ice cream!”

And everything in between!

A parent is absolutely the most important person in a twirler’s life. After all, a parent spends more time with a twirler than any coach ever could! But being a supportive parent isn’t easy. It can be tough to find the right balance between being pushy (“Do it again, or else!!”) or being a pushover (“I’ll take you shopping if you do it again!”)

Several studies have shown that more than 70% of youth athletes give up sports before they reach high school, primarily because THEY’RE NOT HAVING FUN or PARENTS (and sometimes coaches) PUT TOO MUCH PRESSURE ON THEM.

There are steps you can take to be a supportive parent, one who contributes to your twirler’s success, instead of driving them out of the sport.

First – honestly assess your goals for your child. Hopefully, they include, in something close to this order:

  • Staying active and healthy: improving hand-eye coordination, flexibility, etc.
  • Learning life skills, including self-discipline, time-management, goal-setting, teamwork and good sportsmanship.
  • And lastly, winning! At least some of the time!

Make sure that twirling is something your child is interested in. If you’re the only one who wants him or her to twirl, things probably won’t work out so well. The older and better a twirler gets, the more important it is for them to be invested in the sport.

Execute due diligence. Find a reputable twirling coach or program. Ask about a coach’s training and certification. Ask for references and call them.

Within reason, provide the things your child needs to twirl – batons, practice clothes and shoes,. practice time and space, costumes if they are performing or competing, etc. This doesn’t mean you need to build a gym in the back yard or buy a $1,000 costume, especially if your child is just starting out. Let your common sense (and your budget) be your guide.

And always remember that you are the PARENT. You’re not the coach and you’re not the judge.

The Positive Coaching Alliance, which is a non-profit organization focused on developing “Better Athletes, Better People” (not just champions!), puts it this way:

The coach should be a Double-Goal Coach® who focuses on winning, and more importantly, teaching life lessons through sports. 

The parent should be a Second-Goal Parent® who lets coaches and athletes worry about the first goal of winning and focuses on the second goal of ensuring their children take away from sports lessons that will help them be successful in life.

That can create a Triple-Impact Competitor®, one who makes themselves, their teammates, and their sport better through their participation; one who develops self-confidence and other skills that will help them throughout their lives.

After all, isn’t that what we really want for our children?

Anna Dolan

Anna Osborn Dolan is USTA's Director of Communications. She is also a parent, Certified Coach, and Level III Judge.

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