Post Game Conversation- get the most out of the car ride home
To be honest I have had some really terrible post game conversations with my two boys. I can remember one ride home from a tournament in Big Lake during which Will and I rode the entire 40 minutes home without saying one word to each other. I was pissed about his performance and I didn't know what to say, so I said nothing. Saying nothing of course made Will feel terrible. On top of his tough day his crazy dad was also upset with him! What a crappy ride home that was.
This is a tough topic for me. As a dad and a coach it sometimes becomes tricky to figure out exactly how to approach conversations with my boys following their games. Most everything I read says to simply tell our son's or daughter's that we are proud of them and that we love watching them play. Although I agree that it is important to say these things, I also think there is more that can come out of our post game conversations.
So here is what I attempt to do to get the most of our ride home...
I think there are a few factors that parents should consider during the car ride home-
Our young athletes should know that we are proud of them and that we love watching them play.
Our conversations should allow them to continuously play with passion.
Our conversations should be directed at their on-going personal & athletic development.
Know Their Goals
So how do we go about meeting the criteria listed above? We must first understand what our son or daughter hopes to achieve within their sport. Are they looking to make great friends? Develop their skills? Have fun? What are their goals? Their goals will lead our conversations.
A good conversation following a game starts with knowing the goals of our athletes prior to the game. If you drive your athlete to the game simply ask them their goals. If they don't ride with you have them write down their goals in a journal or on a piece of paper. These goals should be process oriented (focusing on things they can control like being a great teammate, having fun, giving great energy, being confident, or working on a specific skill).
Following the game we should ask them if they achieved their goals. If they did achieve their goals we should be sure to tell them how proud we are of them for reaching their goals and how much we loved watching them play. If they achieved their goals nothing else needs to be said. If they didn't achieve their goals we should ask them what they think they need to work on, tell them how proud we are of them , and tell them how much we loved watching them play. Discussing the game in this manner serves multiple purposes-
It allows them to focus on aspects of the game that they can control.
It allows them to focus on on-going personal & athletic development.
It allows them to take ownership of their development.
It let's the athlete know that no matter what we are proud of them and we love watching them play.
All these things allow them to continuously play with passion.
For me this process has been a game changer. It allows me to constantly be thinking about on-going growth and development, rather than the outcome. Try this process, it will make your car rides home much more enjoyable.