Your parents can be some of your biggest fans in softball. But because they normally don’t share the field with you, their involvement typically lies in pre- and post-game conversation. Despite their good nature, some of their messages could become lost if not communicated in the right way.
As athletes, it’s important to understand how to talk to your parents. Not only can they serve as your biggest supporters but also as outlets to discuss adversities. If their interest isn’t conveyed properly, whether improper timing or bad questioning, this relationship could sour. Discover how you can communicate with your parents in an effective, positive way with these tips from professional softball player Amanda “Chiddy” Chidester. Learn how to convey your needs before the talking begins for a better experience for all.
It’s important to get a grip on your communication needs as soon as possible. Parents want what’s best for their children. But their consoling or questioning can sometimes be a little overwhelming. This can be especially true after a loss or bad performance on the field. “When I was younger, I was around 11, 12 playing travel ball. And after games, my parents, sometimes, would bombard me too fast,” Chidester says. “They would ask me, ‘Well, why did you do this?’ or, ‘How come you missed that?’ or, ‘What were you thinking on this one?’”
While your parents might think their questioning is helpful, only you know the true resolution. If you aren’t comfortable with their approach, be upfront with them. Explain how you would prefer the conversation to go. Set some ground rules for both you and your parents so their message can be heard and you can respond appropriately.
GIVE YOURSELF TIME
After a game, regardless of the outcome, your emotions can run high. And while your parents might be eager to recap your performance, you might not be ready to communicate your thoughts. Chidester notes it can be helpful to allow yourself time to decompress before you engage with your parents. From her own experience, this revelation proved effective in creating a positive environment for both her and her parents.
“I remember walking back to the car one day and I asked my mom. I was like, ‘Mom, listen. I love talking to you guys and I’m so happy that you’re supporting me and you’re here with me during all of this, but can we take a little bit of time in the car?” she recalls. “Let me cool down for a second, and then when I’m ready, then we can talk about it.’”
Giving yourself time to cool down can help you regain composure and ready yourself for any questions or comments. This time can also allow your parents to think through their thoughts and allow for more genuine and positive talking points.
KEEP YOUR ROUTINE REGARDLESS OF THE GAME
Having an effective dialogue process can be helpful after a bad day on the diamond. But it’s also important to follow protocol after victories, too. Keeping that safe space for communication in wins and losses can keep each party to a routine. Both you and your parents can digest the game for a moment and come together to share in celebrations. Also, there are challenges within every victory. Maybe there’s still room for personal improvement. Sticking to your parent-child communication routine can allow you to think through your performance and highlight any noteworthy points. Your parents can then take their time to think through their analysis and provide potential help and advice.
Talking to your parents shouldn’t be more difficult than the game itself. Take the time to communicate with them and set the standards for a helpful, supportive relationship. With these Pro Tips, great conversations are just one chat away.
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