PRIVATE LESSONS BLAMED FOR PARENT INSANITY
Over the years, we see more and more videos of parents coming unglued at youth sporting events. Has this always been the case or does technology that makes it super easy to upload video content to social media in a matter of seconds make it appear as if it’s occurring more often? I don’t believe it’s always been to the levels we see today. If there was a crazy level thermometer, the 80’s would be 6 out of 10 and today would be a 15 out of 10. What has caused parents to lose their minds on a regular basis?
I recently was talking with Lou Birdt, CEO/Founder of YSPN360, a platform for players, coaches and parents that provides coaching, playing and parenting insights, and we got on the topic of Return on Investment (ROI) as it relates to Private Lessons. Long story short, we pondered if one of the reasons parents are crazier today than In years past was due to more kids taking lessons, expecting better results and when those results don’t occur, parents subconsciously feel as if the return on their investment in lessons was minimal, therefore providing them, what they feel, a justifiable reason to behave bat sh*& crazy because their kids performance was something other than going 4 for 4. This theory carries a lot of weight in my opinion as a tremendous amount of time & money, almost $17B/Year, is spent on youth sports. With added instruction, added pressure on the athlete to perform is an unintended side effect, but they are kids who want to do their best and when the best isn’t the result, being able to process a mature reaction can be difficult BECAUSE THEY ARE KIDS! Unfortunately, I see far too many parents forget they are kids and pile on the pressure in part due to the amount of money invested in a particular sport.
Could we fix the crazy parent epidemic by taking our kids to fewer private lessons? Should instructors make parents sign disclaimers not holding them personally responsible should their kid strikeout three times with four errors in a given night? I must admit, I’m guilty of doing private lessons and I understand how parents might behave irrationally should their kid have sub-par results while having invested a tremendous amount of money. I don’t apologize for providing my kids lessons and I’m appreciative of those that help them improve at their given sports. I do, however, need to keep perspective that lessons, although a financial investment, are not guaranteed to have successful endings as much as I wish they did. At the end of the day, parents need to be the responsible ones and be more realistic and accepting of whatever outcomes result between the lines. Maybe, just maybe, if we as parents have realistic expectations and behave in a mature manner, that behavior just might rub off on other parents and even our kids.