Ep #29: 3 Ways to Become a Great Sports Parent with 4D Athletes

Real World Peaceful Parenting with Lisa Smith | 3 Ways to Become a Great Sports Parent with 4D Athletes

Real World Peaceful Parenting with Lisa Smith | 3 Ways to Become a Great Sports Parent with 4D Athletes

If you know me at all, you’ll know that the topic of kids and sports is one of my favorite topics, so I’m super jacked about the guests I’m interviewing on the podcast this week. I am joined by two amazing men, mentors, coaches, and dads, Jim Huber and Jason Holzer.

Jim and Jason are the Founders of 4D Athletes, a complete online training system for athletes to help parents and coaches develop confident, self-motivated, and empowered athletes. They teach essential life skills through sport and join me this week to share some tips to help you become a great sports parent.

Tune in this week as we discuss the endless benefits of kids being involved with sports and how to ensure they have the best experience throughout their lives. So many life lessons can be learned through sports and this episode will show you how you can use sports to teach your kids about failure, teamwork, resilience, and the importance of hard work. There is so much good stuff here, I know it’s going to help you.


If you’re enjoying the podcast, click here to sign up for my free Peaceful Parenting mini-course! You’ll find everything you need to continue on the path to peaceful parenting over there just waiting for you. I can’t wait to see you there!


What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How to teach your kids to view every opportunity as a growth opportunity.
  • The importance of modeling positive behavior for your kids.
  • How sports can help with your child’s coordination and the benefits this has on other areas of their life.
  • Why conditional love has no place in sports.
  • How to teach your children to find the joy in failure.
  • Why your kids’ success in sports has nothing to do with your success as a parent


Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

  • Sign up for Peace & Quiet: A Crash Course For Parenting Your Strong-Willed Kids here.
  • Click here to sign up for my free Peaceful Parenting mini-course! You’ll find everything you need to continue on the path to peaceful parenting over there just waiting for you. 
  • If you have a suggestion for a future episode or a question you’d like me to answer on the show, email us or message us on Instagram!
  • Join my membership The Hive!
  • Ep #27: My Biggest Parenting Epiphany
  • 4D Athletes: Website | Facebook
  • Click here to get free access to the 4D Athletes parents’ demo course.

Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to Real World Peaceful Parenting, a podcast for parents that are tired of yelling, threatening, and punishing their kids. Join mom and master certified parent coach Lisa Smith as she gives you actionable step-by-step strategies that’ll help you transform your household from chaos to cooperation. Let’s dive in.

Lisa: Welcome, welcome, welcome. I want to welcome you all to today’s episode. Boy are you in for a treat. I am joined today by two amazing men, mentors, coaches, and dads who happen to be the founder of 4D Athletes. Jim Huber and Jason Holzer are here to join me today. Today we’re going to talk about—You know if you know me at all, you know it’s one of my favorite topics which is kids and sports. I am super jacked about talking with Coach Jim and Coach Jason about sports today.

I am super excited on the heels of just coming home from an incredible tournament. My son had an opportunity to go and play in what’s called the 3SSB Adidas basketball tournament. It was an incredibly well run tournament. Shout out to Adidas. Boy, they do a nice job. We just had an outstanding time. Had an opportunity to practice the skills of competition, gracefully winning, gracefully losing, trying your best. Digging deep and finding that energy.

My son’s team won one game. Let’s see, their third game by one point with 1.2 seconds left to go with a free throw at the line. It was just fun and exciting. Bonding and just all the goodness that can come out of playing sports. So I’m really excited.

I want to welcome you Jason and Jim. These two coaches together have 37 years of combined coaching. So get ready to learn something today, to be inspired by these two amazing coaches. I know we’re going to have a good time talking about the value of sports. So let me pause here and welcome each of them, and ask them to give us a little bio, little background on why they’re qualified to talk about kids and sports.

Jason: Yeah, Lisa, my name is Jason Holzer. Thank you, again, for having us on. I’ve been coaching for about 12 years now, and Jim had actually been my mentor and he’s taught me a lot about coaching. So a lot of what I’ve learned has come from Jim.

So the background myself, I grew up playing sports. Loved playing sports. Then in college it was like I knew I wasn’t good enough to play, but I could work beyond that. So I was like, “How can I do that? How can I stay in sports?” Coaching was just a natural fit. So 12 years later, here I am. Now we have 4D Athletes where we’re helping coaches and parents and kids use sports and get a little better every day.

Jim: Yeah I mean, Lisa, Jim Huber here. My background is basically you know when I got out of playing in college, I wanted to coach. I got into college coaching. I was doing that for several years, and then I got out and started a kind of youth basketball program and developed that.

I’ve been coaching for about 28 years from basic kindergarten all the way to professionals. It’s really allowed me to understand kind of the youth market sports in general, but the ways that parents and maybe athletes need to go out about sports to have a better experience for everybody and make sure you’re not getting used by sports but using sports in a way that’s going to be beneficial for them and their families.

Lisa:  Love it. That’s basically what we’re going to talk about today. How to have a better experience. Before we jump into that, can you each also tell us. You’re parents as well, yes?

Jason:  Yes. I have a five and a two year old, and then I also have nieces and nephews as well. My five and two year old, they’re typical boys. They like playing outside. They like trucks. They like trains. They also like to play ball. My five year old does not like to lose. So what does Daddy do? Daddy beats him a lot so he learns how to lose gracefully, right? Because I was the same way when I was a kid. Losing was the worst. I was a terrible loser whenever I was younger. So yeah. My boys are a lot of fun though, but they also keep me busy.

Jim:  Yeah. Same thing. I have an eight year old and a five year old. What Jason said, I have quite a few nephews anywhere from 18 to 30 now. So it’s interesting when I had my nephews going through sports and I was kind of guiding them and my sisters and brother-in-laws and everybody. They said, “Wait until you have your own children. Wait until you have your own children.”

Then when I have my own children, it’s really shifted the way I look at things, especially working with kids. Because I see now kids more as my own kids when I’m working with them, especially when you have your kids. So it shifted my perspective in a positive way being able to have kids.

Lisa:  Would you say that being a parent has made you a better coach and vice versa, being a coach has made you a better parent?

Jim:  No question. Being a parent you understand what it is to parent a child at home, right, and what they go through. Then also too you want the best for your child, right. The emotions can sometimes get the best of you in those types of things. So I see more where parents can come from. Then also too in the coach side when I have this experience of 27 years, I’m able to step back and be like, “Wait a minute. This is what this is all about. This is what I need to do as a parent to make sure we’re having a great experience through sports.”

Lisa:  I like it. I like it. All right. Let’s talk about this. Why do you each think sports are a great idea for kids? Let’s talk about the benefits of being involved in sports. Any sport. We’re not singling any particular sport out.

Jason:  I think for me it’s the value of having a mentor, right? It’s not just plain sports, but it’s making sure you are with coaches that care about kids first and are weighing the trophies that kind of stuff second, right. So I think that’s part of the reason why I think sports should be so beneficial. There’s a social aspect. It teaches life skills like resiliency and never giving up. Working for something that you really want. How bad do you want things? I think it helps you understand how to work with other people, you know.

Lisa:  Yes.

Jason:  I think those skillsets are crucial as adults. Because if you can’t work with others, it’s going to be tough to succeed in anything you do. The reality of it is we need each other to be successful in whatever we do. So I think those are things, grit, teamwork, and then mentorship I think are key for myself in kids playing sports.

Jim:  I agree with what Jason’s saying. I think the other thing too is like just being active. I mean if they’re not playing some sports or activities sometimes, what are they doing? They’re sitting and playing video games. They’re in front of TVs. I mean what we have obesity problems rampant in our country and lack of physical activity. Also I think the imagination. I mean just getting out and playing.

I think sometimes in sports as coaches sometimes we control things too much. Sometimes we need to allow kids to basically become leaders with them because they can be leaders being in a team environment if you let them kind of lead some of the activities and things like that. Asking them to use their imagination, what they would like to see and things like that. I think those are beneficial within sports as well.

Lisa:  I like it. I like it. I would say I want to add in too just as a parent of an athlete and as a parent coach, a couple other things I would add on to the list is I have an only child. So that teamwork is so critical. Conflict and just learning how to resolve conflict and being on a team with kids you don’t like that aren’t your friends, right?

I mean my son happens to be on a team right now with 10 kids. All of us parents keep talking about how it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity because every one of these kids likes each other, respects each other. They’re all super talented. I ask my kid sometimes you know who do you want to room with this weekend or not? He’s like, “Mom, none of us care. We all like each other so much.” When they’re not playing, they’re all 10 of them jammed into one hotel room hanging out together.

So that’s a unique experience, maybe once in a lifetime. My kid has played with plenty of kids that maybe didn’t have the same work ethic or at a different level of talent whether it be above or below, and he’s had to adjust to that.

Another critical thing I really like about sports is my son has had to take instruction from a lot of different people over the years, right. He’s had a lot of coaches. When he was really little, he played multiple sports. At one point he was playing lacrosse, soccer, and basketball. Lacrosse has like four or five coaches per team. He’s had some coaches he gelled with and some he didn’t. To me that’s a metaphor for bosses in life. I don’t even care what you do for a living, you have a boss. Whether they’re your customers or your board or your manager.

Also goals. I think team sports is a way for kids to set goals, even if they’re not the best player on the team. The goal can be, “I’m going to make my free throws this game. Or I’m going to have no steals dribbling the ball down.” Even at a young age. I think that goals are really important. The sooner we can get our kids thinking about goals, I think the more it helps to develop the emotional intelligence. You guys wanna?

Jim:  Lisa going back to that, I think, not only designing goals for their life for what they want and little things that they can put down, but I think also developing positive habits, right. I think in sports it’s so much in that.

Like okay, you’re going to show up for practice. We’re going to do certain things each and every day. Here’s what you need to do outside of practice whether it’s certain workouts or something. Make sure that you’re getting better. Going to bed at certain times. When you’re on a sports team, you’ve got a game the next day, and you’re getting rest. Hydration, drinking, eating certain foods to make sure your body’s at optimal levels to perform.

Like there’s so much that goes on. If you want to compete at a high level and be successful, there’s really positive habits you need to instill in your life. I think sports is something that, to me, reinforces it and gets kids doing that. Not only these habits helped them in sports but later in life as well.

Jason:  And Jim piggybacking off that. One more thing is excelling in the role you’ve been given, right? So I think that’s also important too because a lot of guys want to be the captain or in basketball they want to be the guy making the points. You’re the guy that’s a great sprinter to get that guy open, that’s another thing too. So knowing what your role is and accepting it, but also aspiring to be better like doing your best at this role. Because that’s kind of like you prove yourself from this point, now coaches can trust you with whatever’s next for you.

I think whether you’re the person managing the team, helping them get water, or whether you’re the captain they look up to. Knowing what your role is and excelling at that will help you no matter what you do.

Jim:  I agree with that. I think it’s really important that like if kids don’t understand their roles on teams or what’s going on, they need to ask. I really recommend parents to get the kids to ask themselves. Especially I don’t care if it’s like sixth grade, seventh grade, whatever. You need to be in a gym and the coach there. Get the kids confident enough to communicate with their coaches. Find out what that is.

Then also as parents allow them to understand this is your role. If you want it to be different, here’s what you have to do. Don’t be that micromanaging parent that tries to pull them out of the situation and make it better for them. Let them figure it out so now it’s a life lesson. You don’t like this where you’re at? Well, here’s what you’ve gotta do to become better. Do you want to do it or not? Right? It’s completely up to you.

I think there’s so many life lessons that can be learned through sports that I really feel like parents, the helicopters and they’re overbearing. They’re trying to safeguard their kids, and they’re taking away these experiences and these opportunities for kids to learn these life lessons.

Lisa:  I like it. I like it. I agree. I want to talk about one more thing, one more benefit. I want to get your input on this, and then we’ll talk about the parent side of things. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because I stumbled across this picture the other day of my little boy. He was about three. We had one of those, I don’t know what to call them. Entry level basketball hoops, the plastic ones that you get your kids, you know. I forgot that we had gotten my kid one when he was two. I have this picture of him at about three years old that he’s dunking the ball. So it’s now my kid’s Instagram photo. It’s so cute.

One thing we’ve worked on from a very young age is coordination. I want you guys to talk about this having played sports yourselves and then coach for so many years. I personally believe that you cannot overlook the value of getting kids active in sports early on. Here’s one of the real benefits, I think.

If your kid can start to develop coordination, and I don’t think coordination is born. I think it’s developed, right. Talking about growth versus fixed mindset. I think that the more coordinated a child can be whether he goes on to play sports later in life or not, the more it raises their self-confidence. I’m really seeing that connection there between the more coordinated I am and the more I can do things, the more self-confident I am. I wonder if you want to speak to that.

Jim:  Yeah, I mean I think a couple things. One is I do think movements and how people move, and you can teach people how to run and how to have different movements and those types of things. I think playing sports at a young age can be good. I feel like specializing too early is not good. Playing a variety of sports that have different movements can help you develop that coordination.

I think one thing. Jason and I talk a lot about we have begun a kindergartener/preschool kid and we’re not even having the sports we get asked. I mean it’s too early for me. I can have them outside. Play tag, run around, chase each other. They’re doing movements. They can do games and movements and work on that. I think that can help.

But I do think there’s ways you can find a performance type coach, agility coaches that they can go and help them with that type of stuff, with movements. I think the more sports they play, different sports have different movements that are going to help them become coordinated as well.

Lisa:  Yeah.

Jason:  Jim to piggyback off that. As a P.E teacher, I think having them watch other people do those movements because then you get their imagination. Everything starts with your mind. If you see yourself doing it and you believe yourself doing it, then your body will follow. So I think that’s important too is to build confidence. They know that hey, you’re not going to be very good at some of this stuff at first. That’s okay. Even when you’re a baby, you’ve got to crawl before you walk. You fell down a lot, but you got back up.

So I think that’s important too. Understand like you know what? It’s okay if you’re not very good at it at first, but just focus on the growth mindset of being a little better every day. I think when parents celebrate that growth too. Like, “Hey, last week you were tripping over your feet. Always falling down with the soccer ball. This week, look at that. You’re able to dribble a little bit. You’re able to kick the ball in the soccer goal. Like great job.” Whatever it is. Celebrate their growth. Again, watching them, having them imagine it in their mind over and over again, seeing that’s it’s best, and they will be more confident, and their body will follow what their mind sees.

Jim: Going back to that though too Jason. Like you see a lot of times where there’s kids that start at sports, and they look uncoordinated. People give up on them. Sometimes they just haven’t grown into their bodies, right?

Lisa:  Yes.

Jim:  I’ve seen it. I’ve worked with kids that look like they can’t even play. Like that in a cowboy movie. They were like a sixth grader, and they should go maybe in the band. All of a sudden, they’re playing in college, right? I tell parents all the time there’s chronological age and then there’s maturation age. Some kids mature early. They’re in their bodies. They function really well. Some kids haven’t. They mature later in life. Sometimes that’s a good thing, right? Because they start to have this growth. Maybe they get frustrated because things aren’t happening too easily for them. Because sometimes when things rehappening easy for kids, they don’t work as hard. When things aren’t happening the way they want, they sometimes want more, and they work harder. So that can be a good thing.

I think that like I said, for parents and people to be patient with kids. Not to get quick judgements and say, “Oh that kid can’t be any good. He’s not this. He’s uncoordinated. Trips over this.” It can come through time.

Lisa:  Yes. I think that if your kid falls into that category, the encouragement is to put the work in, right? It’s not the result. It’s the effort, right. It’s the put the work to get there and it will come. Very rarely do you see a kid who puts the work in, and the result doesn’t come.

I want to speak from my personal experience. I think one of the reasons my son is pretty good at basketball today is because when he was little, he played soccer and lacrosse. Which developed that hand eye coordination and foot eye coordination. The running and being able to kick the ball. The funny thing is in our family we joke around that lacrosse made him a great basketball player because my kid is not afraid of contact at all. He never shies away from it because of the lacrosse, which is just an awesome game for little boys that want to hit each other all the time.

I didn’t really know much about lacrosse. My son started playing it in Massachusetts. One day I look around and I realize that the parents are literally encouraging the kids to hit each other with the stick. My kid was like, “Oh my goodness. This is awesome.” Usually my mom is telling me not to do something, now it’s like you know the parents are yelling, “Get in there. Get him. Hit him.” So I do think multiple sports rather than specializing too early helps the child and prevents burnout. You know burnout is a big deal.

Jim:  Yeah, I think what you talked about too on that Lisa is that I tell parents all the time. Variety of sports, let them do it. Then let them figure out what they really want to do. Because when you get to about 13/14/15, like a freshman in high school, you’re going to start seeing the things they really want to do. Maybe like you said your son just wants to play basketball. Maybe he wants to play basketball and he wants to play baseball. Maybe it’s two sports. I don’t know.

Then you can start doing, “Hey, whoa, I get it. We’ll nurture you in those areas. Provide resources.” Not because you want to do it, but because it’s that internal fire that comes from within so they’re not going to burn out when a parent’s trying to force them to do something they don’t want to do.

Jason:  Well and Jim, you can’t be something that never goes away, right. That’s why specialization really doesn’t help kids. I think there’s a factor of allowing a kid to miss a sport that they love.  I had to be for a long time like, “Baseball season is over. We’re going to go do something else. You can pick. You can get a choice. Do you want to do soccer or football this fall? Which one do you want to do? Baseball is done. Or football is done, we’re going to do basketball or indoor soccer.”  Whatever it is, allow them to miss some of the sports. Because they can work more because they have something to look forward to moving ahead.

Jim:  I agree. I think something I want parents to understand. I’m not saying that okay basketball season’s over. Say it’s in the spring and it’s baseball or whatever you’re doing that you can’t pick up a basketball, right. I coach kids that are also in like the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth grade and have teams. I only do it seasonally now. Because we just did it from basically almost November, a little bit in October, until about February. After that I’m like go do other stuff.

If you want basketball, if you want to be on another team, I’ll help you. But I’ll tell you what. I would just challenge you to just do some skill development on your own. Do some one on one. Play some three on three, two on two. Have some fun. Just play. Have a good time and focus on that other sport.

I want parents to understand we’re not saying like never pick up that baseball or basketball during the season, but are you going to go play on two to three different teams? “I’m playing on a basketball team. I’m playing on a baseball team. I’m playing on a soccer team.” Now you’re running around. You’ve got all these practices and games. You’re getting them worn out. I think you really have to balance that out, that part of it.

Lisa:  I like it. I like it. All right, so let’s talk about this. So one of the reasons I wanted to have you guys on the podcast is because at 4D Athletes, you talk about the three ways to become a great sports parent. I’ve been a sports parent for a long time. I’ve had my shining moments and my not so shining moments. I played a little sports growing up, but I wasn’t very coordinated. My family wasn’t really into it.

So when it became pretty clear that my son really loved sports and we were going to really be into this for many years, I mean my son’s been playing basketball since second grade. We spent pretty much every weekend. Of the 52 weeks a year, I would say we easily spend 40 weekends a year at a basketball tournament. So that’s a lot of time. I wish that when he was little, I would have heard the three ways to become a great sports parent. I needed this information back then.

So let’s get into this. I want to talk through one, two, and three. Give us some advice. Guide us on your model. So you say number one, model positive behaviors. Tell me about that.

Jason:  Well you know, kids typically behave by what they see. So if you want kids to act a certain way, then you have to be the example of that first. You can’t be the person yelling and screaming on the sidelines, but then having your kid say, “Hey, make sure you calm down and stay calm in the game.” Right? So model what you see. You want to see positive behavior? Do a check in before you walk in the door. You know there’s probably going to be a call that’s not going to go your way. You know there’s a good chance that you might lose. You’ve got a 50/50 shot.

So I think being aware of all of these possibilities ahead of time. And then seeing yourself stay calm no matter what situation will help you in those maybe possible trigger moments where you might get agitated or irritated or frustrated. Being able to stay calm and allowing your kid to have a great experience because you have been the example of what you want to see in your own children.

Jim:  Like what Jason’s saying is we’ve talked about before like I’ve seen my kid in the house at the age of like seven doing things to my four year old at the time. Like losing his control, getting frustrated. I’m like looking at him like that’s me. Oh my gosh. Because they’re going to emulate you. They become you.

So, again, if you’re going to a sporting event and you’re acting like…I always say this, and parents hear me on this. A lot of the problem in youth sports is parents. Parents are crazy. They can’t think straight. When it comes to going to an athletic event that my son or daughter is in, they lose themselves. You look at sometimes you’re like, “That over there is that dentist that we go to. Or that’s the doctor over there. That’s Jason, the P.E teacher? Oh my gosh.”

Lisa:  Yeah.

Jim:  So if you’re losing yourself, your children look at you. Now, are they going to be able to play present? Are they going to be able to be calm? Are they going to be able to be the best version of themselves on the field, court, whatever it is? More than likely not. So, again, it starts with you, and making sure again you’re reflecting back what it is you want.

Lisa:  I love it. I love it. Episode 27 of the podcast was all about modeling. You both know. We talked about this before. Kids don’t do what we say. They do what we do. So if you’re arguing with the refs about every call, your kid’s going to argue with the refs about every call because you’re showing that that’s what we do in this family, right. We question every ref on every call. We call them names. We argue with them. Then when your kid does it on the court…If you’re going to do that, don’t be surprised. Because that’s what you’re saying is in this family we treat those people that way.

I’ll never forget. We were at this game one time. I think my son was probably in like sixth grade. He was playing on a team. The other team was up by, I mean it was a lot. Let’s say 50/60 points. It was like four minutes left to go, and they’re up 60 points. This dad is just screaming at his kid to keep bearing down, score more, try harder. I just remember it was a moment for me where I was like, “Wow, really? You’re going to win the game. I mean you’re up 60 points.”

It’s at the point sometimes at games it gets awkward. The one team is up so much, everybody is sort of like trying to be respectful. This dad is just screaming at his kid on the court. There’s this moment where I just realized everybody was sort of staring at him. Then the kid, of course, is on the court doing the crap. You know growling. You can see this connection.  I’m a competitive person. So I’m all for competition. But to your point, model positive behavior.

Jim:  Lisa, it’s like if parents that I’ve coached teams and I have been part of the organization, I’ll tell them listen, here’s what I want from you, okay? When you’re sitting in the stands, I don’t need you coaching. I don’t need you. I don’t need you saying anything to your child. Nothing. X and O’s, take them the basket, do this. Nothing, right?

All I need you to do is clap, cheer, support them good or bad. I don’t need you talking to the other parents. Even though they can act a little bit obnoxious. Getting on to officials. I don’t need you saying anything to officials. Officials only get paid $20. They’re not professional officials, right? So they’re not great at what they do. They’re going to make mistakes. They’re human.

I need you modeling what we need from the stands because here’s the key thing I hear all the time. “My son, he didn’t play present. My son made this mistake and compound this mistake, and he couldn’t get himself back in the flow or whatever.”

Well, look at you. When you’re sitting there I don’t know how many times. When a kid makes a mistake in the game, the parents get so emotional. They go with the “Oh my god. Oh he just.” Or he does great, “Ahhh.” It’s almost like conditional type love. They see that. They feed off on it. So, again, even kill. We always talk about Jason just that mentality. Like good thing, bad thing, don’t know. Just relax.

Lisa:  Yeah.

Jim:  It’s gonna be a good thing for them. Even kill.

Lisa:  I have to say I love what you just said. Any coaches listening to this episode, I wish that every coach my son had ever had would have set those expectations with parents, myself included. Because those are the things we need to hear. I think so often coaches fail to inform the parents of, “This is how you can help the team. This is what we need from you.” I will say in the basketball world, you do also have to help with the score. Because so often they get the score wrong. We had a little score kerfuffle this weekend.

Jim:  Even that Lisa. A couple things I want to say on that is like so here’s the thing to understand too when you say this. Like coaches need to talk to parents, but you know when you go to a basketball game, these tournaments, you can see certain team’s kids acting nutty, right? Acting unprofessional, bad sportsmanship. You’ll see the fans in the stands, the parents, acting the same way, right.

Lisa:  Oh yeah.

Jim:  So you know what they are. Now going back to what you said, I used to tell this too. These scorekeepers sometimes at these tournaments, sometimes it’s the parents that gotta volunteer to sit at the table. They’re paying an entry fee to get in, and then they gotta go sit at a table and keep score. Then you’ve got parents going nuts on them because they don’t do the score right or whatever.

So I tell parents too. I go, “Listen, relax, communicate. Let’s do it in a positive way because otherwise you come over and get on the scoreboard.” Half the parents are hiding in the bathrooms, restrooms. They don’t come out until almost the game start because they don’t want to be at the score table. Right?

Lisa:  Yeah. A few years ago we went to a tournament in Portland. It was a big tournament. The parents had to keep score. I kept score for about four games. I did develop a whole new appreciation for all that’s happening and how easy it is to hit the wrong button and whatnot. Yeah.

Jim:  I’ll say one thing on that real quick. I was at a game. My dad had to volunteer to keep score, and I was coaching this team. This was like seventh/eighth grade basketball. He was like starting/stopping. This guy was just going nuts on him. He was just going nuts. So I got the official. I stopped the game.

I went over to the guy, and I said, “Listen, this guy is volunteering at the score table. So here’s the deal. You don’t like what he’s doing? Get off the bleachers, come over here and sit down. You do it. You do it.” He wouldn’t do it. So I said, “So you’re not going to do it. So then don’t say anything. If you’re going to do it, say it in a polite way.”

Lisa:  So you were a coach in seventh grade.

Jim: I mean I’ve coached anywhere from third grade teams all the way to college teams. I’ve been at all different levels.

Lisa:  Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So number two is set the future and enjoy the present. Tell us what you mean by that.

Jason:  You know, Lisa, I think it’s important to understand that your kids are only going to play sports for so long. Even if they play in college, even if they make it to the pros, sports is a very frontloaded career in our lives. I mean for the most part, that’s enjoyable for the parents. We always say be happy with the present but be excited for what’s ahead.

The thing I would say is mostly like what’s the gift and opportunity in this situation? Your kid’s sitting on the bench? What’s the gift and opportunity in this situation? What are they learning? Don’t try to like save your kid and give them every experience. Maybe feeling uncomfortable sometimes is the motivation they need to get more playing time or to get better.

Basically every sport’s experience has a gift and an opportunity for growth, for understanding, for empathy, for all of these things that we need to be more innovative, to take more decisive action. You name it. Then we can allow our kids to be there. Then for us it’s like I enjoy watching you play. If you say that to a kid, like wow, it completely builds their confidence up. So many times like Jim mentioned. A lot of parents will tell their kids what they did wrong.

A lot of kids say that the worst part about sports is the ride home. Like they’re already been coached for an hour, hour and 15 minutes or maybe it’s an all-day tournament. The last thing they need is a parent who has maybe a limited experience where they’re playing the sport telling them what else they should do. I guarantee more times than not it’s going in one ear and out the other because they’re just been coached for a couple hours already in that one day.

Jim:  Yeah, I think it goes back to this when you talk about being in the present and the future you see. Most parents don’t understand statistics and numbers in sports. Most parents or all these people that have their kids in sports saying, “Oh my kid’s going to play in college, going to get a college scholarship paid for. They’re going to play professionally.” Okay.

I’ll be like, “Let me ask you something. If you had 100% scholarship, all the money of college scholarships, and you had to divide it up academically and athletically, what percentage is each?” They’ll give you numbers like 64 or 50 or whatever. I’ll be like, “It’s 85 to 88% academic, and it’s 12 to 15% athletic. Your child has more opportunity to get an academic scholarship than an athletic scholarship. So let’s get that straight first.”

Then I’ll be like what percentage of kids that are seniors in high school get an opportunity to play a college sport? Right? They’ll give you some different numbers. Kind of some high numbers, but like less than 6% if you count NEI, NCAA, junior college, all these different levels. NCAA, less than 3%. NCAA Division I, almost less than 1%. So your child has such a low percentage of playing past…

Here’s my deal. 70% of kids quit playing a sport by the time they’re 13. So why don’t you enjoy the moment that they’re in right now, embrace it in what they’re doing. As Jason said, let them grow, get better from it. Let’s have a good time as a family, what this experience is for. Because they might stop playing in the seventh grade, that sport. It could happen.

I see too many parents that have regrets or parents later that have a couple children that went and now they’ve got a younger one go, “We changed the way we think about it now.” I’ve got a sister and brother-in-law that have a kid, he’s a senior in college, a junior in college, and a freshman in college. They’re like, “We wish we would have went through sports a little bit differently than what we did.” Year round going to all these workouts, doing stuff. Two of the kids didn’t even play college sports. The other kid’s a preferred walk-on at University of Iowa playing football.

They’re like, “If we’d have known, we would have changed how we went about it and then been more in the present moment just enjoying the experience of where they’re at.”

Lisa:  Yeah. It’s so true. I mean yeah. My son hopes to play college basketball, but you know it may or may not happen. There’s a lot of factors.

Jim:  Here’s with you Lisa, he might play. He might play as a freshman. Then he might stop playing as a freshman or he might stop sophomore. The transfer portal right now in sports at that level is ungodly. I mean you’re talking about thousands of all sports. So these kids are transferring left and right because a lot of times, these kids don’t have the skill sets. They haven’t been prepared. They haven’t been accountable.

Because a lot of these youth sports, like basketball, you can relate to it. It’s some of these you get to certain levels, elite levels, they try to cop kids to play for them, right. The shoe circuits. If you don’t have a certain type of kids, then you could lose a sponsorship or this or whatever. So they’re trying to get the best kids, right? Well, if the kid’s not having a good time, what are they going to do? Just go to another program.

Lisa:  Yeah.

Jim:  So now you’re almost disabling the kid because you’re not holding them accountable. What accountability’s going to be at the college level, some of the kids aren’t even prepared for it. Parents disable them, coaches do somewhat just to maybe get at certain levels or win certain games or tournaments or whatever it might be.

Lisa:  Yeah, I read a statistic the other day that said the number is only 40% of Division I basketball players stay at the same school all four years. 40%.

Jim:  Crazy.

Lisa:  The other thing we haven’t brought into the equation also. If you have older kids that show interest in athletics is the grade part of it too. Just making sure that they can be successful at that school wherever they’re going to go juggling the academic expectations coupled with the athletic expectations, which is probably a whole other podcast.

Jim:  Yeah. That goes back to like understanding how to select the right schools. Questions to ask, how to go through the process to make sure you are selecting the best school that’s going to be for you and your child.

Lisa:  Yeah. Okay. So set the future, enjoy the present. I think that’s great advice. I will say that my husband does a great job every single game. Before my son gets out of the car, my husband tells them, “You have two jobs. Number one, have fun.” We’re constantly reminding our kid to have fun. Enjoy it. “Enjoy it. Number two, work hard.” Those are our only expectations. Your minutes on the court, you’ve gotta do your part. You’ve gotta do your part. We always say first have fun.

Jim:  I love that because I tell my kids now, and I heard somebody talk about this. I’m like, “Okay, we’re going to go have what?” They say fun, right? “We’re gonna work what?” “Work hard.” Right? “We’re going to have a positive attitude. We’re gonna be a great teammate.” Right? We’re gonna do those things. Win or lose, go out and make as many mistakes as you want. I love you either way. It doesn’t matter. Let’s go.

Lisa:  Say those four again so people can hear those and remember them.

Jim:  Have fun, as you mentioned. Right?

Lisa:  Yes.

Jim:  Let’s go work hard. I almost say be at your best, but you can say give your best effort, be at your best, work hard. So have fun, work hard, positive attitude, be a great teammate.

Lisa:  Ah, positive attitude.

Jim:  Let everything take care of itself. Like I go back to this Lisa. Think about this like with parents. Kids kind of look at me strange because I think we put too much pressure on kids, and they lose their confidence or they’re afraid to make mistakes. I tell kids all the time, like your son. If I was talking to your son, I’d be like, Malcolm right is your son’s name?

Lisa:  Yeah, Malcolm.

Jim:  I’d be like, “Malcolm, why do you shoot the basketball?” He’s like, “To make it.” That’s what they all say. I’m like, “You don’t shoot it to make it.” Like what? “No, you don’t shoot to make it. Why do you shoot it? You shoot it because you earn the right to shoot the shot. It’s an open shot. It’s a good shot. If you don’t shoot it, you’re selfish. What you do is you let the results take care of itself.” Because when kids start to shoot or they kick a ball or they try to get up and hit and they get so tight and they think, “I’ve gotta hit the ball. I’ve gotta make the shot.” You don’t have to do that.

Because you know how it is. Your body tightens up. All of a sudden you can’t function the way that you normally do just in a practice, in a driveway, or whatever it is. So taking the pressure off of yourself to understand, “I don’t have to make this. I don’t have to hit it. I’ve just got to do this because I earn the right. I’m up here. I’m the best person for the job right now.”

Lisa:  I love it. I love it. Let’s say those again. So have fun, work hard, positive attitude, and great teammate. Boy if that isn’t the recipe of life. That applies to, let’s just be honest here, being a great partner, spouse, coparent. Have fun, work hard, great attitude, great teammate, a boss, a coworker relationship, your mother-in-law, your neighbor, right? I mean come on. 4D Athletes has just given us the recipe to life. Have fun, work hard, positive attitude, great teammate. We’re gonna make a poster on that one.

Jim:  Now we gotta give him credit. Who was on our podcast that did that Jason? You remember royals. He was performance…

Jason:  Joel Goldberg?

Jim:  No, no, no.

Jason:  Oh Freddy Sandoval.

Jim:  Freddy Sandoval. Freddy Sandoval told me that he told his kids. I was like Freddy. Because I did a few of those, but I didn’t do all four. When he said all four, I was like, “Freddy Sandoval, I love that.”

Jason:  Golden.

Lisa:  Thank you Freddy Sandoval for giving us the map to success in life. All right, let’s talk about number three. Encourage risk taking and find joy in the present.

Jason:  Yeah, I think it’s many times the fear of failure or the fears in general hold us back from being the best version of ourselves, you know?  I think Michael Jordan said it best. “I have failed millions of times, and that’s why I have succeeded.” So a lot of times I’ve even caught myself like a kid makes a mistake and you really want to correct it. Or hey things should be done a certain way. When they mess up, you’re quick to not allow them to work through it themselves and maybe find a better solution.

So I think it’s giving your kid an opportunity to fail. I’ve actually heard this. One of our podcast guests said this. Like I would go with failing a hundred times or getting a hundred no’s before I get one yes just to get used to hearing that so it doesn’t detract me from any kind of fear getting in the way.” I think if you can find joy in failure then success is going to happen naturally because you’re not worried about what other people think. You’re not worried about how you look in front of other people. It goes back to just trying your best, and failure is feedback.

Okay here’s what happened. How do I get better the next time? What do I do? It’s not final. Failure is not final. Failure is just feedback. I think too many times in our education system we see what kind of grades we get. Or we maybe lose a lot in the beginning in life, or you name it. We judge ourselves. We’re our biggest critic. We’re too nervous and too scared to try new things because we’re maybe too scared about what other kids might think. We just want to fit in as opposed to stand out. You name it. There’s a lot of things.

I think if you are just confident in yourself and can believe that every opportunity is a growth opportunity, a gift and opportunity, then you’re going to find that failure is going to happen no matter what. What’s the opportunity in that?

Jim:  I think going back to that as a parent. This is my challenge for parents, okay. I see too many parents show conditional love. Like oh your kid just had a double-double. Had a great game. “Oh Malcolm, oh my god. He played so well. I love him.” Whatever. Then he goes the next game, and he goes 0 for 8, doesn’t score a point, he fouls out, and has like one rebound. “Malcolm gosh dangit. Why the hell blah, blah, blah, blah.” You’re all frustrated and you’re all tight. They can see it. Like, “I do well, they’re excited. My parents are happy. They love me. I don’t do well, they’re disappointed. They’re frustrated.”

So my challenge goes back to this with parents like Jason said earlier. The car ride home or after a game, will you please stop going up to kids and being like, “Why didn’t you do this? Why didn’t you do that? What was wrong with you there?” Even if they did well. “Oh man, it was a great game. You hit six three-pointers. You did this awesome.” I see parents in the stands that have their notebook and their chart and stats. Come on man, seriously. At fifth/sixth grade basketball or whatever?

So what I tell parents all the time is this. Instead of complementing them on statistics and numbers, like after the game. Like. “Hey Jason. You know what? I know you missed like your first four shots. You weren’t shooting that well, but you know what, I’m proud of you. You stayed aggressive. You kept shooting it. You finally hit that one. I’m proud of you man.”

Or “Hey, you know how that official made that bad call? I know that was a call and it got you fouled out of the game whatever. You didn’t like show them up, palms out, shrug them off. You went off the court. You got to the bench, listened to your coach, sat down, and you cheered your teammates on when you fouled out. Man I was impressed by that. That was selfless right there. That showed me something man. That’s a great teammate.”

“You know when you threw the pass and your teammate turned it over and messed up and coach was getting on him. How you went over there and cheered him up and got him a pat on the back? I was proud of you for that man.”

Like what are we doing to have them understand like, “Hey you sat on the bench for this period of time, weren’t playing at all. Then coach finally puts you in. I loved how you got aggressive and made some steals and made some plays and defense and helped that team have success. Man I’m proud you stayed with it man. You didn’t pout on the bench. You’re ready. You’re prepared.”

These life lessons that we’re learning, and that we emphasize with them. It’s that growth mindset. It’s not just like you hit the shots. You hit the baseball. You made these goals and that type of stuff where you get these ups and downs. There’s ups and downs in life. There’s ups and downs in sports. How do our children respond to these situations? Now if you can sit there and encourage them and you identify these things that they’re doing, now what are they going to do? They’re going to start thinking, “These are really things that I’m getting encouraged about. Now I’m maybe going to implement them at home and school and different activities.”

Jason:  Lisa, the last thing I want to say on that too is parents, your kid’s success in sports has nothing to do with your success as a parent? A lot of times parents associate how successful they are as a parent depending on how great of an athlete their kid is. Those are two separate things. So don’t tie your success as a parent with how good an athlete your kid is.

Jim:  But it goes back to that Jason. So like you said, not so much as an athlete but are they a great teammate? Are they a great communicator? Do they have a positive attitude? Are they passionate and individual? Do they sit there and fight through adversity, right? Those are the qualities and characteristics because me as a parent, and Jason we talked about, I want my kids to embody that.

Lisa:  Yeah.

Jim:  I’m a basketball coach. I’ve coached for many years. Been in sports, love sports. My kid, I tell my kid all the time, “Son, you don’t have to play basketball. You don’t want to play basketball? Play basketball. If you want to, you want to go to some stuff, I’ll help you whatever. If you want to shoot outside, let me know. I’m not going to force it upon you.” Right? So I think when we understand if I get somebody coming back saying, “Hey, your son Caden is a really respectful kid. Your son Caden was really good at camp. He’s a great listener.” I love hearing that, right?

Lisa:  So much good stuff here. I mean I only wish I would have known you guys when my son was in second grade. Because a lot of what you’ve talked about, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve learned some of those lessons that you spoke of the hard way. Everything you said, there’s so much value.

One thing I think that Dave and I do really well is we behave the same on the ride home from the game as if they won by 50 or lost by 50. Malcolm took the winning shot or missed it. That’s something that when the game is over, he gets to think about it and work it out with his coach, but we don’t break it down. We don’t analyze it. There’s no conditional love. He feels loved regardless of how he performs. There’s just so much goodness in everything you both just talked about.

Jim:  Lisa can I add this? That’s awesome. I want to add something. In sports, there are relationships that are broken. Parents and kids sometimes do not have good relationships. There’s hurts, right? Things that have happened. I’ve had parents that have told me. It’s like, “Man. What I did to my child, man, our relationship is not as good because of that.” I’m like okay. You see now. You have a high level awareness. You admit it. Sit down with them, apologize. Like, “I’m sorry son. I didn’t realize what was going on at that time. What I did. I hope you can accept my apology. I never wanted to be like this for you. I just want to let you know.”

Like sometimes just apologizing, admitting it to the individuals and getting that stuff up front where you can have some healing through it. Because I’m telling you, sports can be a good thing, but there has been situations through sports that have fragmented relationships that have taken place from coaches to athletes, from parents to athletes, from parents to coaches. There’s ways that we can be aware of it, admit it, and then go look for some healing in that process to ask for forgiveness and be in a conversation about it.

Lisa:  I couldn’t agree more. Repair and recovery is always possible. The more we show our mistakes and take accountability for them, the more our kids learn that. We have to model that for them. If that happens, that’s a great way to do it at any age. Any age at all. So I agree with you 100%.

Well, I know that every person listening to today’s episode has just gained, well first of all the road map to success right. I mean thanks Freddy Sandoval for laying it out for us. The three ways to become a better sports parent. We talked about growth mindset. We talked about finding the joy in failure, which I really love and am going to leave here and immediately go talk to my kid about because I think that’s an area that we could get better in our family. We also talked about why sports are great for kids. The activeness, the teamwork, all of the life skills that can be learned.

So thank you, thank you, thank you. I know everybody listening is appreciative of the information and the lessons and the inspiration you both have brought today. So tell us if parents want to take this to the next level, want to work with parents, coaches, want to work with 4D Athletes. Where do they go to do that?

Jason:  Yeah, you can go to 4dathletes.com. In there we have a downloadable, the month of mindset. You can also book a call with us on our website as well.

Jim:  Going back to that. Like as a parent, what I suggest for a parent is we developed a course like navigating your child through sports. It has 25 tips. What we’ve done is we break it down. We do videos, Jason and I. It’s like I’m the parent, Jason’s the athlete. It’s almost situations where he’s playing, and it’s like, “Drive it Jason. Shoot is Jason.” He’s confused. Doesn’t know what to do. Makes mistakes trying to listen to coach. Then afterwards it’s like the dad comes up and goes, “Come on Jason. Pick your head up. You need to do better next time.”

He’s like, “Dad, can I talk to you? When I play, you talk to me from the stands trying to coach me. I can’t be relaxed and listen to my coach. It’s confusing.” Then at the end of it it’s more like, “I’m glad my dad was willing to listen to me. I wish all parents would know this. Or I’m glad that my son talked to me.” So it’s more of getting parents to think and creating a high level awareness.

So it’s 25 tips that we go through that if you follow these tips, I will promise you that you’re going to have a better experience as a parent, your child is. The coaches and administrators in the sports that you’re involved in are going to have a better experience.

So we put that together because one of the reasons, Lisa, is I went to a mandatory parent meeting in Blue Valley School District. You know Kansas City, big school district. I was in an auditorium that should be 2,000 people. Blue Valley should be a lot of parents at this mandatory parent meeting. I walk in. There’s like I think 22 parents there. I’m like why am I at this? 22 parents at a mandatory parent meeting?

They had this director of the Heart of America College Conference come in, and she’s talking about parenting. I’m like wow. I’m taking notes going through it. She gets done and she goes, “Some of you probably are asking why was it mandatory?” You only see 22 people here. She goes, “The reason being if it wasn’t mandatory, there’d probably be one of you here.” I was looking. It was like a two hour deal. Parents were kind of zoned out, looking at their phone, not paying attention.

So Jason and I talked about making it more micro lessons. Making it to where they could from their home or from their phone or tablet or whatever on their own time, driving their car. If they listened to this stuff over and over again and we have a kind of a notebook they go through and stuff, I promise you. You’ll have such a better experience, and you’ll save so much time, money, and resources because you’ll understand what this whole youth sports is about.

Lisa:  Yeah, and you’ll be better connected with your kids. Because you’ll really understand the dos and don’ts. Again, I wish that I could rewind time back to second grade and have the 4D Athletes course available. Because a lot of what I know today I learned at the School of Hard Knocks by making those mistakes you’ve spoken of. I really understand my role now. I’m a cheerleader for all the kids on the team. I’m there to buy pizza at the end of the night. Get everybody to the games, make sure uniforms are clean, and be a cheerleader. That’s all I’m there to do. I love it. I get to go and enjoy.

Jim:  When you do that, you’re more relaxed as a parent. You said you enjoy the experience, right. You’re not so uptight, right? Again, hey listen. Your son Malcolm is going to be a senior in high school, right?

Lisa:  No, he’s going to be a junior.

Jim:  Junior in high school next year. You can go back to when he was in the second grade and look back on that little hooper, the basketball goal dunking it. It’s blink of the eye right there. You’re looking at it going, “He is going to be a junior in high school.” All of a sudden, these next two years are going to go by quick and he’s going to be graduating, walking through the high school graduation on stage. It goes by so quick.

Lisa:  Yep. This weekend we were at the tournament, and my husband looked at me and he said, “We’ve got one more of these.” Summer between junior and senior year. We’ve got one more. So we really are making an effort to enjoy every moment. Every game, every moment, every challenge. It has put us in a more relaxed state. It’s like well, this is going to be gone at a certain period.

Even if Malcolm plays college basketball, that’s going to be a different experience, right. That’s a whole different system he’ll be working through. So the days are numbered. We’re just trying our best to enjoy every moment. The wins, the losses, the effort, the lessons, the struggle, the joy. Hitting the free throws, not hitting the free throws, the whole experience.

I want that for every parent. I want every parent to be able to go and enjoy, fund a top athlete on a team to the kid who’s just trying to figure out his or her coordination, the whole spectrum. I want people to enjoy it because that’s what it’s really for.

Jim:  The last thing I’ll say, and I’ll stop on this I promise Lisa because Jason will knock me out if I don’t. I do want to say this. As you said, when you’re done and you look back, what do you remember? The memories. Not so much the trophies and metals. They’ll sell in garage sales and go, right. You’re going to look back and you’re going to remember memories and the positive memories.

So my challenge for parents. To expand their level of awareness, to understand this youth sports, how to navigate your child through it so that you can look back and you can have these positive experiences that become these great memories that you have for you and your family.

Lisa:  I love it. I think we should end on that note. Memories. I feel like we should fade away with that 80s song Memories you know. It’s perfect. So let’s yeah. Again, if you’re listening and you want to know more, you want to get in touch with Jason and Jim, you want to take their free course, go to 4dathletes.com. You’ll find everything you need to know there. I’ve learned a ton today. Thank you both for being here. I’ll look forward to talking to you soon. Take care.

Thank you so much for listening today. I want to personally invite you to head over to thepeacefulparent.com/welcome and sign up for my free peaceful parenting minicourse. You’ll find everything you need to get started on the path to peaceful parenting just waiting for you over there. I can’t wait for you to get started.

Visit www.thepeacefulparent.com/podcastlaunch to learn more about the contest and how to enter. That’s www.thepeacefulparent.com/podcastlaunch. I’ll be announcing the winners on the show in an upcoming episode. So stay tuned.

Thanks for listening to Real World Peaceful Parenting. If you want more info on how you can transform your parenting, visit thepeacefulparent.com. See you soon.


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Lisa Smith

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