I’ve seen it first hand, the well intended parent pushes their child into a panicked and insecure place.
1: A CHILD NEEDS ROOM TO EXPLORE!
Exploration is the most effective way a child learns. Hands down, no question. Your athlete needs "comment-free periods" to try, fail, and grow on their own.
If every step he takes is judged, positively or negatively, then his desire for expanding his knowledge will be ruined. I've seen it too many times.
No one likes being evaluated, especially not everyday and every play.
We need to be free to try dribbling between our legs WITHOUT being instructed. Even correct instruction, if given too often, can be perceived as criticism.
2: SPORTS AREN'T BLACK AND WHITE!
What if your idea of “correct” shooting form is just your opinion? By constantly correcting or affirming, parents send a message that there is ONLY ONE WAY.
This causes the child to be indecisive and hesitant, always second guessing her actions. When, in reality, there are more than one way to skin a cat. Plenty of great NBA shooters do not have text-book form.
3: YES, EVEN COMPLIMENTS CREATE PARANOIA!
Children can perceive “Good shot” as “We are all watching you shoot, and we judge that shot as a good one.”
Remember, I’m not talking about an average, “Atta boy”, I’m talking about parents giving feedback ALL THE TIME.
Constant compliments still convey that his actions are under scrutiny.
KIDS NEED “COMMENT-FREE” PERIODS!!!
4: HINDSIGHT IS 20/20.
It is easy to criticize an athlete AFTER you see the result of the play. BUT, maybe the child made the right decision based on the knowledge he had at the time.
The lane was open, so he drove, at the last second he was blocked. His decision was correct, yet the result is criticized AFTER THE FACT.