There is one thing we all have in common: We all care very deeply about a child who is participating in the Seymour Area Wrestling program. We know that you want him/her to have a good experience in wrestling this season… and beyond. We know that you want him/her to be successful. What we would like to do at this point is to help you make your child’s experience in wrestling a good one AND to help YOU help him/her to succeed.
We know that your efforts are meant to help. When it comes to “helping” our children succeed as a wrestler, meaning well does not always get the results that we are hoping for. In fact, the opposite frequently happens. We all want our wrestlers to succeed… and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. The problem lies in the way we often times go about trying to make this happen.
The first thing you can do to help your child is for you to understand what your role should be. You are your child’s SUPPORT SYSTEM. This means that your role (job) is to “help” your child make good choices and assist him/her in wrestling, school, and in life. This role is critical and no one else can fill it other than you.
With everything that you do, please keep in mind our mission statement and purpose as a program:
Mission Statement of a Seymour Area Wrestler: Through hard work, discipline, and integrity, each child will become the best wrestler, and more importantly the best person that he can be.
PURPOSE: Our objective is that each wrestler in this program may progress to a level as close to his/her full potential as possible. This potential includes not only the physical part of the student-athlete but the mental, moral, and emotional aspects as well. We are committed to building an organization that people respect - not only today but also in years to come. We want wrestlers to be proud that they are and were a part of Seymour Area Wrestling. We believe that discipline and character development must be an integral part of this equation if we are to achieve excellence in all phases. The wrestler above all must have self-discipline and be a person of solid character if he is to reach his potential as an athlete and, more importantly, as a person.
So what should and can parents do to help?
1.Never try to be your child’s coach. This is the biggest mistake that we as parents make – trying to coach our child… rather than simply supporting and encouraging them. Your support role is vital. But, your child does not want to be… nor should he/she be… coached 24 hours a day. Wrestling practice and competition is extremely tough. When your child leaves the battlefield of the practice room or the competition mat, he/she needs to be energized and encouraged. He/she should never be criticized, coached, given a “clinic” or “trained some more” because you “think he/she should be better” or “could be doing more.” That is what the coaches do.
· If you are the parent of a young wrestler and want to get involved, please speak to a coach and ask how you can help at practice. We can always use more coaches, but remember that coaching your child should be limited to practice or times when he/she asks to be coached.
· If your child needs a coach at a tournament, help him/her, but keep these principles in mind. Coach him/her when he/she needs and wants to be coached, but do not allow this relationship to continue past the time of a competition.
2.Every athlete needs to enjoy this sport. If a child is not enjoying it, he/she will not improve as quickly. In fact, if he/she is not enjoying it, he/she may even quit… and this can happen regardless of his/her talent or the amount of success he/she has had. We (both parents and coaches) must be very careful not to be overly concerned with success in terms of wins and losses. If we are, the wrestlers’ enjoyment of wrestling will drop significantly. This is especially true for the early period in the wrestler’s development. We would do well to remember this: The greater the enjoyment… the more improvement they will experience. We should NEVER be responsible for taking the fun out of wrestling for our children.
3.Improvement is more important than wins and losses. Reaching one’s potential is a process. It takes a lot of time, effort, persistence, and patience. Learning proper techniques and a good work ethic will result in your son achieving his goals. If a wrestler can simply keep getting better, winning will take care of itself.
4.Be positive. Encourage your child. Do NOT criticize his/her performance. Praise good efforts in both victory AND defeat. Enforce the positive points of the match. Praise improvement. If you see something negative in his/her performance, keep it to yourself. Your child needs someplace to go where everything is OK… where he/she doesn’t have to “hear it” or defend him/herself. And, while he/she may “put up with it” when he/she is younger, it will come back to haunt you later.
5.Do not try to do too much. Limit the number of tournaments that you take your child to so that he/she does not get burned out. If he/she wants to go to 5, take him/her to 4; keep him/her hungry for more. It will benefit him/her in the long run and foster growth as a youth, middle school, and high school wrestler.
6.Don’t force a conversation about wrestling unless your child initiates it. This is especially true after a tough loss or poor performance. If he/she doesn’t want to talk about it – don’t! And don’t fret over silence. He/she most likely will talk at some point – especially if you are consistently complimentary, encouraging and positive. Also, if he/she wants to talk about a match, let him/her do the vast majority of the talking. Don’t use it as an opportunity “teach him/her something” or tell him/her what he/she ought to have done or how he/she can get better. Show him/her that you are listening and that you care. It will also help to remind yourself that wrestling is HIS/HER thing, not yours.
7.Poor sportsmanship should be addressed. In this case, firmly remind him/her that this not something that will be acceptable or tolerated in the future. Our approach to an athlete who fails to respond appropriately after a loss has been along this line: “I really like that you hate to lose. Hating to lose is a great quality. However, showing it with poor sportsmanship is a sign of weakness. No one should ever see this again."
8.Be supportive of the coaching staff. Whether you agree with us or not, you should never communicate to him/her (or to others) a difference of opinion, make negative comments about us personally or our ability to coach. It will accomplish nothing positive and will undoubtedly adversely affect his/her attitude as well as his/her effort in the future. If there is a disagreement or a problem, discuss this with the coach/coaching staff privately. These things are just as “contagious” among adults. Help the team by supporting… not tearing down.
9.Do not criticize other members of the team. He/she will learn sportsmanship and leadership (be it good or bad) from you. Our experience has shown that the best leaders consistently come from positive parents.
10. Be respectful toward officials, opposing coaches, and wrestlers. Focus on cheering for your team… not cheering AGAINST the other team.
11. Make good nutrition a family thing.It will be easier for your child to eat healthy if those around him/her are doing the same.
12. Demand good academics. Be sure to provide a good environment for academic work at home.
13. Do not be a fan of other wrestlers. The last thing your child wants (or needs) to hear is how good someone else is… or what some other wrestler does. You should be a fan of the team and your child.
14. Get involved with SAW. It is there to support your child, and needs parental support to do so.
15. sure your child has clean workout gear every day. This will help to prevent skin infections.
16. Do not let wrestling be the only thing that you do with your child. Allow and encourage him/her to explore other things in which he/she might be interested.