Athletes Corner

Student-Athletes: Are Your Parents’ Expectations Realistic?


Parents or guardians can be a student-athlete’s biggest champion. From the time I was young, I have seen so many different types of athletics parents who are passionate about their daughters or sons as they watch them represent their school or club team.


However, what expectations should parents have for you, the athlete? While it’s natural for one to want to make his or her parents proud, make sure you make sure that their intentions are in the right place.


Realistic Expectations

Working Hard on the Court. Parents should expect you to work hard as a student-athlete on the playing field. If you commit to pushing during each workout, utilizing all of your resources and taking the time to improve weak areas in your game, then that should make a parent very proud. Instead of sleeping in or watching TV, giving your sport your all is what many parents rightfully encouraged.

Excelling Academically. Just like in sports, parents should want you to give equal, if not more attention to your studies. A student-athlete who is taking advantage of all academic resources available is a very realistic expectation for parents to have. Making time for study hall, tutoring and waiving free time to work on a project is a discipline that exceeds sports.  I made sure to bring schoolwork on the road while traveling during long AAU trips, because if I didn’t, my parents would not be pleased. 🙂

Exploring Your Passion.  Your parents should support your passion, which varies for different student-athletes. You may have a goal of earning a scholarship to college (no matter what level) while another teammate may want to play recreationally for their college. Other goals may include making an all-academic team or transitioning your athletic experience into a career in sports medicine. The possibilities are endless. Parents should know about and encourage your goals, which may involve you not chasing a career in professional sports.


Nonrealistic Expectations

Wins and Losses. If your parent or guardian expects you win a certain number of games this season, then that’s a problem. Academic records, injury, or a slump can affect wins and losses… there are always factors that are out of your control. Instead, parents and guardians should focus on effort, teamwork and sportsmanship, not just individual stats.

DI or Bust. If you choose to pursue athletics at the collegiate level, parents should not put Division I institutions on a pedestal. There are so many different factors that go into obtaining a scholarship at the DI and DII levels, including the talent pool of your peers, school budgets, academic expectations and more. Additionally, there are hundreds of stellar DII and DIII institutions throughout the country that offer student-athletes amazing college experiences.

Not on the Same Page. When parents aren’t in sync with you and your overall well-being, there is a problem. Speak with your mom, dad or guardian to make sure you all have the same goal in mind. Sometimes, parents mean well and have the best in mind for you, but their passion can inadvertently harm your progress, confidence and opportunity at the next level.

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