5 questions: Psychologist weighs in on specialization in youth sports and a parent's role

Sunday, 12 November 2017, 10:28:56 AM. Parents are well-intentioned. And they are trying to help their son or daughter navigate competition in the year 2017.
Parental tirades and children’s tears on the sidelines of sports games are almost common fare. Parents know they shouldn’t lose their cool, but sometimes they just can’t seem to resist. Joel Fish aims to help. A parent of three kids in sports, a licensed psychologist, and a sports psychologist, Fish is also director of the Center for Sport Psychology in Philadelphia, where he works with athletes of all ages and skill levels. And, sometimes, with their parents. He’s been a sports psychology consultant for various professional teams, including the 76ers, Flyers, Phillies, USA women’s national soccer team and the USA women’s national field hockey team. He’s also the author of 101 Ways to Be a Terrific Sports Parent. We talked to him recently about just that. Why are we talking about sports parenting in the first place? What is amiss?   Handout Joel Fish, director of the Center for Sport Psychology in Philadelphia. Sports is different today than 20, even 10, years ago. It’s more intense. It’s taken on a greater meaning in our culture — the status, prestige. It’s different because we define success much more as winning. So there’s more cheating going on in sports than ever before. One of the myths out there is that more is better.  That can drive a parent to sign up their son or daughter at a very young age for an abundance of sports activities. A full schedule. It can lead parents to feel that specialization is better. If my child is playing 12 months a year, that’s...Read more
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