Parent, Coach, Player Educational Event
Alex Wesley, Director of Marketing | May 22, 2019
WEYMOUTH, MA - There is an age-old conflict that exists between parents and their athletic children: To push or not to push? Picture that car ride home from a tough loss. How do you react to it as a parent? There is no wrong way, but there is a recipe to succeed in conversations with your child regarding sports. Same goes with the coach/player relationship and the coach/parent relationship.
That is one of the many reasons why Crosscourt Consulting and USTA New England partnered to bring the first ever large-scale tennis education event to New England. The Crosscourt Path is a concept that brings together on-court play for kids and off-court learning for parents and coaches.
“Navigating the youth tennis pathway can be a daunting experience, especially if you are new to the sport. The USTA New England Section had the foresight to recognize that we need to provide the knowledge and forums for families to engage with experts in order to make the experience for their child and themselves rewarding,” said Jeff Bearup, co-founder of Crosscourt Consulting. ADVERTISEMENT
And the event was a great success. Nearly 80 parents, kids and coaches took time out on a Saturday to travel to the Weymouth Club in Weymouth, MA before the busy outdoor season to focus on bettering their relationships with each other.
“Managing relationships successfully is a hard thing to do. Partnering with Crosscourt Consulting with their expertise and collaborative partners just made sense for us and we are happy to see the high attendance and engagement at our first event of this kind,” said USTA New England Executive Director and COO, Matt Olson.
To tackle the hard issues, the event managers brought in one of the most sought after speakers in the athletic arena, David Benzel. He is the founder of the non-profit organization, Growing Champions for Life. An expert in his field, Benzel is dedicated to helping sports parents and coaches incorporate positivity and persistence into their communication with the young athletes.
The day began with orange and green ball Team Tournaments for the kids in the bubble at the club. At the same time, coaches and parents listened in on back-to-back sessions with Benzel. The first was aimed at parents, specifically, in a talk called ‘To Push or Not to Push, A Parent’s Dilemma’. This session focused on the short-term and long-term effects of creating too much pressure for kids in tennis.
"We need healthy strategies and effective skills if we’re going to create cohesive families, healthy teams, and principle-centered athletes in today’s culture. We owe it to our young athletes to provide the most positive learning environments possible," Benzel said.
Pat Shelton attended the event with her 10-year-old daughter.
“I was so impressed by the way he presented the four categories of parents. It made me reflect and think about what kind of parent I am and want to be. I want to make sure I’m using the right language,” Shelton said.
The second session, titled ‘What our Kids Need to Succeed’, was for parents and coaches and was aimed at helping young tennis players learn personal responsibility by playing the appropriate role of a parent or coach.
“It is our job as their coach and parent to show the kids how to act. Their feelings matter and need to be heard. Showing and demonstrating to them how to express their feelings in a more constructive way I think helps them grow as people and players,” said Coach Kelly Day from Longfellow Natick.
To wrap up the event, all three groups came together for a session titled, ‘The Frantic Family in Sports’ which was an interactive exchange to help parents, coaches and children better understand each other and improve their conversations.
“We came to the event to find better ways to communicate and motivate our son while avoiding conflict. It’s hard to know whether you should push or not or how to balance our son playing multiple sports. David did a great job helping us and we are glad we came,” said Edward Chen, parent of a 10-year-old son.
USTA New England and Crosscourt Consulting plan to host at least one more event of this kind this year.