Tag Archives: Support

Youth Sports Think Tank 2019 Day Six Review

Car Journeys – Fueling The Sporting Character

“Our children are children.”

Welcome to my Day 6 review and summary of the GO! Chase Excellence in Youth Sports Virtual Think Tank.

My review focuses on one presentation that I have viewed in the last 24 hours.

Each of my reviews follows the format of the Think Tank ‘Workbook & Reflection Journal’ provided alongside each of the sessions:

  • What – What issues does this session address?
  • So What? – Why are these issues important?
  • Now What? – How can I address these issues or implement the ideas in this session?

Today’s Review

Today’s review is from the “Collaborate” track of the Think Tank. The “Collaborate – Coach the Parent” track is focused on engaging parents in more effective ways so they become collaborators in our culture.

The presentation I chose today was “Car Journeys – Fueling Sporting Character” by Richard Shorter. Richard is a parenting coach and is the founder of Non-Perfect Dad.


How can we make the car journey to and from sporting events an enjoyable and fruitful time together with our children? How can we build kids up, rather than tear them down during this time?

It can be a tricky experience that is fraught with danger if not approached with compassion and awareness.

This session provides some practical advice to help parents avoid the pitfalls of sports car journeys and help rather than hinder their child.

What to Avoid: The Three Ugly Sisters Of Sports Car Journeys

Parents should avoid the “Three Ugly Sisters” of sports car journeys:

  1. Did you win?
  2. Did you score?
  3. Were you man/woman of the match; did you get a personal best?

An answer of “yes” often results in an animated conversation; an answer of “no” often results in an awkward, non-animated conversation. This can lead to kids learning than they have to do really well to cause an animated response, or that their results measure their worth. Avoid the “Three Ugly Sisters”.

What to Do: Discussions Which Chase Excellence

1. Express pride/love

Make your child feel psychologically safe by expressing your pride and love on the way to the game. This shows the child that you are already proud of them and love them out of the sporting context and regardless of any future results.

2. Ask the question

“What is the best thing I can do for you on the day that you play sport?”

3. Sit with pain

If something does not go well or to plan during a sporting event and a child is heartbroken, don’t rush to fix the pain through clever words. Just be there. Be quick to listen and support, rather than try to fix things.

4. Seek progress (at the right time)

If you sense that your child is ready to talk, you can help them identify ways that they can overcome or rebound from a poor performance. If they have performed well, help them recognise things that have done that led to that occurring and how they can develop that further. Help your child get better at being who they are but avoid trying to “coach” them.

5. Be realistic

Remember that our children are children. As  they learn and develop they will make mistakes. Don’t be too harsh on their mistakes. Model compassion. Let them grieve their mistakes then progress.

So What?

We need to realise that the main reason that kids play sport is for enjoyment. A parent who falls into some of the car journey “pitfalls” can ruin the sporting experience for their child by:

  • Placing undue pressure on them
  • Wrapping their self-worth up in their results
  • Comparing them with others
  • Being too harsh on them

Knowing what to say and do during sporting car journeys can help make a child’s sporting experience an enjoyable and positive one.

Now What?

My kids are too young to be yet playing competitive sport, but when they are old enough I will certainly be very aware of my words and actions during sporting car journeys.

As a coach, such information as presented in this session are helpful to me in crafting my conversations with athletes pre and post-competition. I can also model behaviour which positively influences and guides the approach of parents of the athletes that I coach.

As a coach developer and parent educator, I can help to increase the awareness of how sporting car journeys can be positively used to help rather than hinder a child’s enjoyment, confidence and character development.

Favourite Quotes From Presentation

“Our children are children”.

Further reading


How To Talk With Kids About Their Sports Performance

Youth Sports Think Tank 2019 Day Five Review

If this post helped you please take a moment to help others by sharing it on social media. If you want to learn more I encourage you to leave questions and comments or contact me directly.

20150614_154020-1Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on TwitterFacebookLinkedin, Anchor or via email.

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