Don’t screw up the kids

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Do not harm the Kids.

This morning when I was sitting outside in my yard, having a cup of coffee, a very interesting thought came to my mind.
I just thought what would have happened if the parents hadn’t screwed up their kids slowly over a period of time.

I love coaching squash and when I ask myself what my approach is to coaching, the answer is below: (1) I coach because I don’t have to but I want to coach; (2) Instead of asking if a kid can learn, I ask myself how I can coach these kids.

This morning when I was sitting alone this is what came in my mind as what squash (sport) is and how their parents behave in kids’ entire journey of squash.

Squash is like running a marathon. There are no quick results. In the marathons that I have run, all I see is people lining up alongside on the streets cheering every single runner. There is a lot of positivity all around. And, runners of all levels participate.

There is no discouragement, only encouragement. People travel to different spots to cheer the runners on, a lot of them do it for hours together. They make sure that they are there during the last few miles, when it becomes the toughest to run.

It is a lot of selfless effort. The runners are all happy that they are participating in the event too. Kids playing or learning squash/sports are running a marathon too. But I think parents and guardians forget that.

I feel like they get on their bikes or cars and they are constantly telling their kids how slow they are, and that they are not going to make it. I am not sure how the kids will finish their marathon in this environment.

Kids are innocent, and we need to make sure we are gentle and patient with them. Comparing again with a marathon, someone running at 12 minutes a mile should not be compared to someone running at the pace of 8 minutes a mile.

Both types of runners (kids) should be put in appropriate groups.

IF the 11 minute/mile runner is asked to run with the 8 minute/mile runners, he/she will not be able to keep up. And if this is done repeatedly, they will burn out and lose interest because they will constantly feel that they are not “good enough”.

The entire experience will become a nightmare for them.

There is a lesson for coaches here too. Parents are not experts, and we should not take advantage of this fact.

The Parent-student relationship should be based on absolute trust and sincerity.

The prime job of a coach is to make sure kids love the sport! It is really up to the kid in life where they want to go after they are able to “Run the Marathon”. The coach should become the guide, available with helpful advice and counseling.

And, coaches should use Squash to help kids build life skills too – self-esteem, consistency in practice, humility, discipline, playing by the rules, and adapting.

Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, the experience has turned unpleasant for a lot of kids, making them feel like Squash is a chore that they will do well to avoid.

It is my humble request to all – Please let us not screw up the kids!