Some Guiding Thoughts for Parents


Written by:

Ryan Johnson

April 20, 2017

The Transfer of Skills Training to The Game… Some Guiding Thoughts for Parents.

As an elite-level trainer, I’ve often been confronted with one of the mostly hotly debated questions in the field of high-caliber training:  “Why don’t my child’s skills from training transfer to the game immediately?”

Today, we live in a world that is driven by instant gratification and quick and easy fame. The “process” of training, however, should be viewed in a similar light as your athlete’s academic education in that developing athletic skills is a type of progression-based learning.  This means that athletes must master one skill before being able to move on to another skill and that athletes should be grouped with similarly skilled learners. When executed correctly, a training program can build unmeasurable confidence through strategic skill development pushing your athlete outside of their natural comfort zone. In order to maximum the success of a training program, you must understand and believe in the philosophy behind your athlete’s training program.  You must stay the course designed by your athlete’s trainer and avoid being sidetracked by unrealistic expectations, which can be detrimental to your athlete achieving their established goals.

These next words may sound harsh, but trust me, they are the truth and what is best for your athlete.  As the parent of an athlete, you must stand firm in your role as a parent and remain supportive throughout the entire training process.  Unconditional support and encouragement are paramount because the moment the conversation with your athlete becomes all about the sport or your tone becomes constantly negative, your athlete will tune you out. This could not only hinder your athlete’s success in a training program but could also be devastating for your relationship outside of sports.  It’s not unusual for your athlete to be self-conscious about their performance as they grow into a successful player, so I’m not at all saying that you shouldn’t have conversations with them about performance, but simply that you should limit these conversations as best you can and remain an unfaltering source of positive support!  Here are some tips for how you can best provide the proper resources and support for your athlete’s success:

    • Relay to your athlete’s trainer any information that might give them insight into how to move forward with your athlete.
      • Some trainers may not be willing to talk with you on a regular basis maintain this kind of instructional relationship with your athlete, which means that they may not be a good fit for your athlete’s plan of success.
    • Before beginning any training program, ask the trainer some key questions to gain a better understanding of their process.
      • Make sure that the information they give you is consistent with other information you have read or heard about the trainer or coach and with what you have seen yourself.
    • Ensure that the trainer has a level of expertise that matches your expectations for the training you want your athlete to receive.  
      • You should feel comfortable and confident that a trainer can help your athlete excel on their journey toward success. 

Ultimately, it’s always important to remember that every athlete is a unique individual with their own learning curve, which means that the results of any training program will manifest at different times.  Parents and even trainers are unable to dictate when, where, and how an athlete will excel at the highest level.  However, the earlier you are able to start your athlete in a skills training program and make the program part of a consistent routine, the greater the opportunity for a high success rate.  Lack of consistent practice and time devoted to skill development could produce a rapid decline in performance. So, if the goal for your athlete is to achieve at the highest performance levels, continue to expose them to situations and environments that embody success and produce long lasting, meaningful results.  

Allow your athlete’s trainer to do their job, while you focus on being the best, most supportive parent you can be, creating a balanced and solid foundation for your athlete’s continued success.