Anyone out there who doesn't want his/her kid to succeed in life?
Anyone out there who wants the best for his/her kid?
I strongly believe in creating a child friendly learning environment (CFLE) for sporting kids. A CFLE makes it a safe, fun and challenging environment. Too often parents think that the club, school or coach should create this environment, but we all do this together: Club/school, coach, player and the parents.
A safe environment means to me that kids are happy to come to training, are not afraid to make mistakes or to be judged for wrong doing by other kids, coaches, own or other parents. To create this environment we have to make sure we don't make fun of others, we don't laugh about mistakes or wrong answers, we stimulate players to put in their best efforts and to make decisions.
Easy to say, harder to do. If kids enjoy what they do, they open up to learn. Kids in general are very intrinsic motivated to learn and develop. They experience joy when they learn, when they can do new things, when they have success (in any kind), if they get confirmation of competency from coaches and parents.
Although every single kid is different, still we need to challenge every single one of them on their own level. It stimulates the 'enjoying' part, but is necessary in order to let them develop. Overchallenging might result in lack of interest and effort, while underchallenging might result in being bored and irritating to other kids.
To me, a CFLE is a key-indicator for healthy sports clubs and schools, as well as a strong indicator of the quality of coaches.