The 60 Minute Rule Written By John Michael Kelly
Far and away the subject I received the most reaction from the hundreds of girls I have trained is what I term “The 60 Minute Rule.” Now, in advance, as a parent or coach I warn you to dismiss or ignore this rule at your and your athlete's own risk. Breaking this rule can drive a wedge between you and your athlete as well as negatively affect her game performance.
“The 60 Minute Rule” requires that as parents you refrain from speaking to you athlete about her game or games for at least 60 minutes after the game(s). As a softball parent myself I know how much you can't wait to dissect, evaluate, analyze, critique or judge your athlete's performance and that of her team. Some of you reading this are nothing but positive with your athlete and that is great. However more of you are likely coaches, ex-coaches, ex-athletes who may mean well…but still come off as negative to your athlete. In either case I suggest you follow The 60 Minute Rule.
Here are the problems in violating The 60 Minute Rule:
Your athlete needs time to decompress and self-evaluate her game performance on her own first. She needs to recognize what she did well and what she needs to work on to get better.
Your athlete likely learned more about the game and herself during the day. Give her the time to figure that out and whatever lessons she did learn that day.
Should you begin to critique (what you call it; she calls it “criticizing”) your athlete's performance immediately after the game or on the ride home her mistakes will become magnified in her head and you will force her to focus on those failings (and feelings they bring) versus what she learned in the process that day. Self-confidence is a fleeting thing, so be careful about driving it away with unnecessary comments and judgments.
Should you persist at violating The 60 Minute Rule your athlete may come to resent both you and the game. As I did to my own daughter I guarantee your repeated criticism, no matter how well intended it is, will start to suck the joy out of the game for your athlete.
In reality your critique might be positive and helpful, however if your athlete is anything like mine how she hears the message may be very different from how you intend it!
Please don't expect perfection from your athlete or her team. This game is hard enough as it is without having to perform under the burden of unrealistic parental expectations.
If you absolutely have to address the game with your athlete within the 60 minute window ask her only these questions:
— Did you have fun playing?
— What did you learn today?
— What was your favorite moment of the game(s)?
Now the caveat to The 60 Minute Rule is whether your athlete wants to talk about the game? If she brings it up, or you have a very naturally talkative and happy kid, great! Just practice being a good listener first.
John Michael Kelly: John Michael Kelly, America’s Sports Confidence Coach, is known for skyrocketing the self-confidence and game performance levels for thousands of youth athletes and teams from coast to coast by reducing the stress and increasing the joy for playing the game! John also coaches travel softball with the 18u and 18 Gold teams for The Next Level (“TNL”) organization in sunny San Diego. You can follow John at SoftballSmarts.com and Facebook.com/SoftballSmarts.
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