Having an outside eye watching a match has immense value for a coach and your child. A third party observing a match can get a better idea of which parts of your child’s game is working and which parts are not. With this information, both your kid and their coach will have a better idea of what to work on at their next lesson. Now, understanding the importance of watching your child play is easy, the hard part is getting your child to agree to you actively watch their match. If they are not okay with you observing them, you will only do more harm than good. It can not only make them nervous and change their play, but the different play will make the information you gather while watching less useful. In this post, we will go over how to make sure your child is okay with you watching them and how to make the most out of this your time spent observing.
There are two things that you need to do to make your child comfortable with you watching (if they are not comfortable with it already). The first thing is to communicate the value of you being there. If your child believes that you can help them improve their game in the long term by being there then they are more likely to both let and want you to watch. The second thing is to act in a manner that won’t make them nervous. If you start to become a distraction during matches by making your child feel uncomfortable, they are more likely to want you to sit the matches out.
The value of you being there
The two biggest tangible items of value that you can give your child are helping them set up goals for the match and charting the match. You can check out how to set goals here and how to chart here. By helping them set up their goals and reminding them about it, you can help them improve at a much faster pace than if they just went off to play with no real sense of direction. This also helps give you direction on what to look out for, while watching a match, making your notes and input more valuable. Meanwhile, Charting offers you the statistics needed to give to both your child and their coach for them to see what was working and what areas need to be improved. Having direction from goals and charting can significantly increase the rate at which your child develops and will keep you actively engaged in their development.
How to make your child comfortable with you being there
The key here is not to be a distraction. That means trying your best not to show your emotions both when your kid is playing well and when they are playing poorly. If your child can see you while they play, they will almost always look up at you and try to see your reaction after any hard point. If they see a reaction, it can easily distract them and negatively affect their play even if it is a positive reaction. Charting can help you to accomplish this as it will give you something to do while you watch the match.
One of the easiest things you can do is just always ask if you can watch. Simply giving them the option every time will take the pressure of you observing them off a little because they know if they want you to sit one out they can always say no.
The last thing is to be nothing but supportive after a rough match. This means asking them if they want to talk about the match before bringing it up (You can always bring it up with the pro and have them talk to the kids about it). Keeping your talk as objective as possible will also make this process easier. This includes referencing your chart stats if you have them and going over how they did on their match goals. By keeping it objective and going over things after they have cooled down a bit, you can get the most improvement out of the match and keep your child happy about you being there.
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