The idea for this article struck me as I sat in my car after dropping off a carpool of girls to practice last week. I was scheduled to drive the carpool both ways and it made sense to stay at the fields for practice as the fields were 30 minutes from my house.
As I sat in my car at the sports complex that includes 12 turf fields – I was witness to a long stream of players and parents marching off to training. It is a big complex and I understood that parents of the young players wanted to be sure their child made it to the proper field, so an escort to training was in order. However, when I started noticing parents walking with older players, and parents carrying blankets to keep warm and one even carrying a portable heater – it struck me that many of these parents were planning on hanging out on the sidelines for practice.
I know how rewarding it can be to watch your child practice and improve. As I watched from my car, the anticipation and excitement of many of the fast-walking parents as they herded their players along was nearly palpable, as I have felt it before.
Up until this year, for the past 3 years, I had attended just about every single one of my daughter’s practices. I wasn’t on the sidelines watching, I was on an adjacent field coaching and only periodically involved with her training. While my attention was obviously on the players I was working with, I couldn’t help but steal a glance in the direction of my daughter at a water break and I will even admit a time or two when the water break was extended for an extra 30 seconds or so, in order for me to watch her on the ball.
I loved watching her practice.
I loved watching her practice because of how it made me feel….Never really taking into account how my presence in her team environment made her feel.
Now, after 6 months of not being at the fields for her practices, I clearly see the benefits of my distance.
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