Sports Parents – To push or not to push!


Youngsters need to learn what it takes!

The phrase “pushy parent” is mostly used in derogatory terms. It insinuates a controlling parent being overbearing on the poor victim child, who would do much better if their mum or dad backed off.

What do you think about this? Take a minute and reflect…..

Personally, when I look back on my life I appreciate the times I was pushed and the people who cared enough to do it when I needed it.

I remember particular teachers at school, college and university taking time out to drive me on. They liked me but were never shy to be on my case when I slacked off. We all need people like this and I believe it is a vital thing if we are to break barriers and push our potential. Recently, I went to deliver a copy of my book to one particular teacher who whilst always looking out for me was never afraid to push me hard and give me a dose of reality when I failed to produce an appropriate level of English A level work. It was such a thrill to give Maureen (Mrs Lloyd) my book. It was my way of thanking her for being one of the few teachers who cared enough not to let me fail!

There are plenty of people out there who will take the easy road with you, who simply don’t care enough about you to push you that bit harder and hold you to high standards.  Are you really a leader if you prefer to be ‘liked’ rather than be slightly feared, admired and respected.

In working with high performing individuals across many sports, business and educational settings, I know these people have been PUSHED at significant times. They have been given seemingly harsh truths at times they just wanted to sulk and go into the mental landscape of “poor me”. I only need 2 days with a person to find out their depth of character. The ones who are used to being driven, familiar with truth and who know life’s struggle is a challenge only they can overcome. In the world of achievement, words are cheap, intentions count for nothing, results do matter.

It is so easy to dream and aspire for goals, we can all do that!

It is so easy to encourage and tell people how great they will be one day, we can all do that!

It is so easy to listen to leaders who praise you, excuse you and molly coddle you with clever excuses in order to keep the peace, we can all listen to that!

What is not easy?

To push people when they’re already hurting, to drive people on when they want to give up, to point out the truth when the truth is painful to reveal.

The art is to BALANCE between the pushing and the pulling, telling and listening. Leadership is very complicated and particular to certain situations and certain performer needs and preferences. Pushing someone is just one of the many many facets of leadership.

So please don’t get hung up about the phrase “pushy parent” too much. If you notice a coach pushing hard and asking for much more then maybe appreciate the high standards they are introducing your children too.  I have seen many a great champion in sport and life benefit from being pushed hard from those who really loved them. I am not advocating a dictatorship approach by any means (as of course there are situations where people are pushed over the edge in inappropriate amounts and methods) I am  just aiming to let you know that not all is bad if you hear the term “Pushy Parent.”

For more on this and simple tips to help you go from great to greater read my new widely acclaimed book “The Winning Parent” available on Amazon across the world.

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