Tuesday, October 18, 2016

LET THEM PLAY by Jerry Lynch

(I received a copy of this book from the publisher.)

Last year, my family entered the world of competitive sports with soccer and basketball. I was not an athletic child but my son loves sports. This is all new to me. As a parent, you hear stories about sporting events and the bad behavior of other parents. So far, I haven't witnessed any of this. However, if we continue with sports, I know this issue will come up. Even at a very low, fairly non-competitive level, I often find myself getting overly involved with the game from the sidelines. I call my son's name and shout at him what I think he should be doing. After reading this book, I think I may have to change my behavior.

In his book, Lynch ties together elements of psychology and spiritual principles to give parents and coaches a game plan for giving children positive experiences in organized sports. Lynch points out that, "the magic of sport can influence a significant portion of a child's physical and emotional development for years to come. These include learning how to fail, how to succeed, how to overcome self-doubt, how to get stronger mentally and emotionally, and how to develop selflessness." Sounds good, right? But what happens when parents and coaches intervene in this process in negative ways? Lynch provides a bunch of "food for thought" as well as offering concrete ways to give children positive experiences utilizing tools such as meditation, compassion, visualization, and more. He ends the book with a Code of Conduct for adults so that our kids can truly enjoy organized sports without negative influence.

As a parent, I found this book very useful and easy to read. Especially as my son enters competitive basketball season!  I will be passing it on to my son's soccer coach and hope to share it with other parents as well. These simple reminders can help our kids get all of the good stuff out of organized sports and avoid the dreaded "parental interference" from the sidelines.

BOTTOM LINE: Recommended. A great tool for parents and coaches.

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