To Push or Not to Push

We all struggle with the idea of how hard should we push our kids. We all know that a player who is self-motivated will always be more successful than the player who is “pushed” by someone else.

But let’s be honest, how many kids do you know that are dying to get out to the garage and get in another 100 swings after they have had a long day of school practice and lessons? Not as many as we want there to be, of course!

We want our kids to be successful so we want to “help” them become the best version of themselves they can become. Unfortunately there is no single, right answer to the question of how hard should you push your kid. But I do think there are some things to consider.

The level of play for an athlete is a wild card in this discussion. When looking at players who have reached a very high level of the game they often have stories of days they wanted to quit, times they thought it was too hard, times they doubted if they could accomplish their goals. Many of these same players tell stories of the times that their parents were there to give them a push and that in hindsight they appreciate the push they received, even though they often didn’t appreciate it at the time.

If your child is playing at the recreational-league level then the level of appropriate pushing is going to be different than what seems appropriate for a high-level travel or college player.

Which leads to a good rule of thumb for parents to follow: A parents level of commitment should match the level of their child.

That means that parents are often chasing after a moving target because we know kids change their minds regularly. She may want to be the starting shortstop at UCLA one year and then just want to play for fun the next. The bottom line remains the same, whatever her level of commitment is, you can’t force not to change by pushing her to try to meet your standards.

Your kid is only going to be a kid for what is really a very short time. Her softball career will not end up defining her life. Do you want to spend all your time together during these very fleeting years fighting over whether she is working hard enough or not?

I didn’t think so!