Answered By Sara Hall
Sara, I'm a dad of two kids that run cross country and track in the jr olympics. My wife and I go to all the meets and I go to most of the practices and even run with the team. My wife over heard some other parents that I am pushing my kids too hard but they want to be good and I am trying to do my best with them. One is a 7th grader and one is 9th, where is the point that you just them go and decide on their own?
That's a great question, I think it is a fine balance. I think it is great that you run with your kids at practice! That is valuable time spent together that most parents don't get to share! I think they will look back on those times and treasure them. I also think it's great that you go to their races, that communicates support to them! My parents were always good about that- they would fly to my soccer tournaments even if they couldn't afford it because they wanted to support me! As far as if you are pushing them too hard, it's difficult to say without actually seeing the extent of your coaching and how your kids handle it. One thing I would say is try not to yell at your kids. I trained with an athlete whose dad always yelled at him, and as a result, he could never take an easy day, he always had his dad's voice screaming in his head. Does it seem like they react to pressure put on them by you? Do they ever seem to not want you at practice, or not want to be around you if a race goes poorly? They are young and have a long career ahead of them, so I definitely don't think there is any need to push them. Especially since you said "they want to be good". Sometimes it is good to just see how much motivation they have on their own. My parents saw that I was highly motivated, and so if anything, they tried to hold me back in high school. They would encourage me to relax, take a day off, and not take it so hard when I had a bad race. I aprreciated that balance. I didn't need someone trying to make me realize I had blown it after a race- I already took it really hard on myself. Hope that helps!