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But thats exactly what I said!

Why adolescent athletes listen when someone other than mom or dad give advice.

At times when I have explained to parents what their athlete and I have discussed post session, and outlined the root cause to a particular hurdle the athlete may be facing, a few parents have sighed, some rolled their eyes, and then exclaimed with frustration:

"...but thats exactly what I said to her, two weeks ago!'

The parents with the open mind will then allow me to explain. Those who are unable to put the needs of the child before their own switch off before I have had a chance to say what I will outline in this article.

If you are one of those parents who feel you may have jumped too soon at thinking outside support for your athlete is unnecessary, I hope that by my sharing today in this article, you will at least take a moment to pause and reflect.

As adults we all know adolescence is an incredibly challenging time for both child and parent. For the child there is no other time for the human body, aside from the first 3 years of life, where you will experience as much significant physical change. On top of this the brain is not fully wired to the frontal lobe, hormones are beginning to fire and for some adolescents an adult body appears way before they even feel comfortable to embrace it. Add the feverish social and emotional changes that arrive as we transition to high school and it is incredibly overwhelming for anyone yet alone a child. And thats really who they are despite moving into double figures.

During this time understanding the range of different emotions one may feel can be extremely difficult and at times painful or embarrassing.

When you are feeling this way the easiest person to share information with is someone who is either your peer ( but then this doesn't work because they may feel the same as you or have no idea! ) OR a person you have zero emotional connection to. A random person for example!

Thats often how I describe myself. I am just a random professional that has come into your life to help your athlete and facilitate a high level of support.

Let me explain the importance of the "randomness".

When then is very little to no emotional connection, and we are talking deep emotional connection, where you are not concerned with how the person will react, what they will say if your reveal something shocking, if they will judge you, then you are more likely to speak freely. More likely to feel less inhibition.

When an emotional connection to a person exists, pain, fears and insecurities are likely to be amplified , even if the fears are irrational and unsubstantiated. They feel this intensity because they are fearful that what they share will be felt by you via the deep empathy and love you have for them. There is also the fear you wont understand and or completely misinterpret them and therefore get angry, even though we know this is highly improbable.

Remember we are trying to reason with an adolescent brain that is not fully wired so its like trying to connect to wifi in a hurricane. There is a very high chance you'll lose connection, won't get a connection at all and sit in radio silence for days.

A safe, private, place to share for adolescents can help steer them through these emotions and respect the wishes, which ultimately, underlining the desire to win and perform at their best, is to preserve and improve their relationship with mom and dad and everyone else around them.

Yes thats right! Teens do not hate you or the world, they are just trying to work it out and want to do so on their own...albeit with a little bit of help from a random person on the side. Thats where I come in!

Believe it or not, while we may not feel it right now, Mom and Dad, are the most important humans to an athlete. While some athletes may not be able to express it or their current behavior may not support this statement, at the heart of almost every adolescent is immense devotion to their parent. Protecting this relationship, even if it may be dysfunctional , goes without saying and I lay witness to this by the ferocity at which an athlete will go to protect it.

As someone who is deeply passionate about adolescent athletes, I see this challenging time in a young person's life as an opportunity for parents to utilize the services of people dedicated to supporting them. I am proud to be that random helper!

This is not a reflection of our parenting failures.

This is a reflection of care necessary during adolescence.

Coach B

( Parent of 4 Teenagers too)

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