Workshops aim to create positive sports culture in Rosemount

Coaches, parents can help young people have more fun

Rosemount Irish U11
The Rosemount Irish U11 team donned leprechaun outfits after finishing on top of a tournament in 2014. Photo contributed

Whether you are a parent, a coach or a workplace supervisor, the Positive Coach Alliance’s workshops offer plenty of advice.

Parents and coaches who are new to the Rosemount Area Athletic Association attended a Positive Sports Parenting session last month that aimed to arm adults with the tools to help youth benefit from all sports have to offer.

The workshops emphasize creating “second-goal” parents and coaches who focus on the life lessons of sports and not the outcome of games.

Anne Mauch, a lacrosse coach for nine years and PCA-Twin Cities members since its inception two years ago, told a gathering of parents recently that: “We are all here for the right reasons – to help our children become better athletes and better people. That’s a win-win for everyone.”

Seventy percent of youths stop playing sports by age 13, according to PCA.

The main reason cited by youths is that the games aren’t fun anymore. As children age in sports, it seems that there is more focus on wins and losses and success in tournaments and conferences than on developing children who are strong physically and emotionally, according to PCA.

PCA aims to change that in Rosemount, Minnesota and throughout the nation with workshops like the one RAAA has slated for 6 p.m. April 26 for new parents and coaches at the Rosemount Community Center. With about 5,000 participants in 10 sports, RAAA’s PCA workshops can help spread the positive message throughout youth sports in Rosemount.

“A positive goal set helps your kids have a better time,” Mauch said, which means young people will play their sports for more years and win more.

Sports can teach a growth mindset, according to Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck, author of “Self-Theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development.”

A fixed mindset sees sports in light of good and bad performances and wins and losses. A growth mindset focuses on how one can get better at certain skills and attitudes within a sport.

When coaches and parents focus on the process of learning and improvement, it will make sports more enjoyable, Dweck said in a PCA video message.

“Teach kids to enjoy their effort … and thrive in the face of obstacles,” she said. “When they overcome obstacles, there is success at the end of a process.”

Longtime NBA player and coach Doc Rivers, who has been the head coach of his son in the NBA, encourages adults to ask their children what they did right or wrong on the playing field.

He said in a video message during the presentation that parents and coaches should be the support mechanism.

PCA illustrates that support mechanism as the ELM Tree of Mastery. ELM stands for Effort, Learning and Mistakes are OK – all of which puts players in control raising their self-confidence as focus on their own progress rather than their measurement against other players.

Since players are in control, the role of parents and coaches is to fill their players’ emotional tanks. Research shows that people need five positive remarks for every one that is negative in order to maintain a level tank. That means pushing the ratio above 5-to-1 is needed to fill the tank.

Mauch encouraged parents to consider how they are acting in the car or on the sidelines during games.

She said parents who are negative about “being late” or “having kids who are overscheduled” translates to their children’s mindset.

“That is reflective of your goals,” she said. “Think about what you say and what you do.”

Other negative reflections include parents looking at their cellphones more than the game action, burying their heads in their hands when a mistake happens and, of course, yelling criticism at referees, players and coaches.

Mauch said players and adults need honor the game by having respect for its ROOTS, which stands for Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates and Self.

Information about PCA and the material covered in the sessions are at http://www.positivecoach.org.

More about RAAA is at http://rosemount-aaa.org.

Email Tad Johnson at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @editorTJ.