By Alex Flanagan
5 Albert Einstein quotes for sports parents to contemplate
Albert Einstein is one of the world’s most revered icons. A genius, Einstein didn’t only make extraordinary contributions to science, but to everyday life. Many of his quotes still apply perfectly even 62 years after his death. Here are five Albert Einstein quotes we think all parents of young athletes should contemplate.
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
The other night I watched a frustrated dad yell at a group of 9-year-old boys. He was trying to get them to line up on defense during a flag football game. As he barked out instructions, moving one kid to closer to the sideline the other closer to the line of scrimmage, the kids eyes opened wider and wider until they all seemed to be suffering from deer in the headlight syndrome. Chances are if a whole group of kids are messing up, the coach isn’t doing a good job of coaching. Maybe it’s time to go back to the basics.
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
You might think having a kid who has never struck out or lost a game is a good thing. It is not. The more time I spend around professional athletes, the more convinced I become that failure is a critical ingredient to success. Parents and coaches should be letting kids play different positions. Let them try new sports and new techniques. Nothing drives my crazier as a sports parent than the volunteer parent coaches who lock into specific kids to play quarterback, point guard, and pitcher when kids are 8! For goodness’ sake parents please top pigeon holing kids to the position you would like them to play because you want to win.
“Example isn’t another way to teach, it is the only way to teach.”
How in the world do parents expect kids to have good sportsmanship, when they are screaming idiots? Model the behavior you are trying to teach through youth sports. That means keeping your cool, being kind, respectful keeping your mouth shut much of the time
“The only source of knowledge is experience.”
Nothing replaces getting out there and doing it. For me this is irrefutable when I’ve coached pre-teen girls basketball. They kind of understand playing zone defense when we write it out on a dry erase board, but not until they scrimmage and actually do it, do they truly get it.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
As great as it is to give our kids the practical experience they need to have knowledge, it is just as important that we don’t rob them of their imagination. The beauty of youth sports is the little boy day dreaming in the outfield, the games, contests, chants and traditions that our kids dream up when adults allow them the space, time and freedom to do so. My son’s little league coach ended every game last season with a mock press conference. He would pick one child that the others gathered around to ask questions about the game through an imaginary microphone. The kids LOVED it!
Alex Flanagan co-founded I love to watch you play in 2015. She was flying home from an NFL work assignment when a learning specialist, who was sitting next to her, shared 5 reasons she shouldn’t feel guilty missing her son’s game. She shared their conversation on her own website alexflanagan.com and the response was so overwhelming it inspired her to create ILTWYP to help parents like herself navigate youth sports.