Explores both the joys and dangers of sports participation and translates the latest wisdom on the subject into a practical, how-to guide that helps parents to ensure that their children get the most out of the game. (OnWisconsin Magazine)
Do you know how to be a good sports parent? By high school, it’s too late. That’s the conclusion reached by Frank Smoll and Ronald Smith, two University of Washington psychologists who have studied youth sports for more than three decades. The two have seen a lot that is wrong today’s youth sports climate and have come up with a surefire way to make the experience more rewarding for kids and parents alike. But their approach won’t work if parents wait until high school to rethink their behavior. Not when 75 percent of kids who participate in sports quit by the time they’re 13. The two have a new book out with a sneaky title: Parenting Young Athletes: Developing Champions in Sports and Life. That might cause parents to think it contains the magic recipe for producing a winning child athlete. After all, isn’t that what it means to be a champion? But what the book actually covers are lessons aimed at parents, not their kids. The authors aren’t taking on the out-of-control dad who gets written up in the police blotter for disputing an umpire’s call....Smoll and Smith advocate an approach that focuses on preparation, effort and mastery. If both coach and athlete are giving it their best effort, with a goal of mastering the necessary skills, the results will be more fun, less performance anxiety and, in the long run, fewer drop-outs. (The Star-Ledger)
This book is a must read for parents who want to understand their role in the youth sport experience, and want to trust the information on which this understanding is based. When Professors Smoll and Smith began their research on youth sports over three decades ago, the few publications on the topic were merely opinion pieces because there was no scientific evidence. With their leadership, research blossomed. Using this scientific knowledge, the authors speak sensitively to parents about the timely and timeless issues involved in the youth sport experience. Beginning with a gripping opening letter from a young athlete to his parents, the book is filled with poignant, meaningful, and sometimes humorous quotes and stories that vividly reinforce the scientific points under discussion. (Tara K. Scanlan, Ph.D., professor of psychology, and director of the International Center for Talent Development, Department of Psychology, UCLA)
In Parenting Young Athletes, Drs. Smoll and Smith have written a must-read for all parents of children involved in sports. In today's sometimes-crazy world of youth sports, this book offers insight and direction to help parents ensure that their children's athletic experiences are fun, positive, and healthy. (Jim Taylor, author of Positive Pushing: How to Raise a Successful and Happy Child)
Frank Smoll and Ron Smith have provided invaluable insight into the sensitive issue of parental involvement in youth sport programs. Their work provides unique and vital assistance that has been developed through extensive scholarly research and practical application, which is a rare combination. Frank and Ron have taken the foundation of their caring and scholarship and infused their passion for making sure that sports are done right and that they remain a positive part of our youths' lives. (Mike Colbrese, executive director, Washington Interscholastic Activities Association)
Dr. Smoll and Dr. Smith’s approach in this book lends well to the true mission of youth sports, and I would highly recommend and encourage that all parents, coaches, and anyone else who deals with children in the sports arena read it. The entire book is right on, from my experience. But of special interest to adults who really want to have a positive impact on the children under their charge are the sections on coaches' roles and responsibilities, parental behavior at practices and during competition, and putting youth sports in perspective. (James M. Gerstenslager, director, Little League Baseball and Softball, Western Region)
Smoll and Smith have hit another home run. Drawing from decades of experience and research on youth sports, they offer invaluable advice for parents on how to help their young athletes realize the physical, social and emotional benefits of sport. They also provide keen insight on ways for parents to avoid some of the potential landmines of youth sport organizations. This book will undoubtedly help parents help their kids get the most out of their sport experience. (J. Douglas Coatsworth, professor of human development and family studies, Pennsylvania State University)
Parenting Young Athletes: Developing Champions in Sports and Life is a ‘must have’ for any parent who is nurturing a young athlete. This book is a clear guide for all the questions that a parent might ask. It also shows how the skills and attitudes developed through sports apply to life beyond sports, which is a valuable lesson for all youth involved in sports. In fact, this book is an excellent resource for young athletes, as well as their parents, to read. (Beverly B. Palmer, Ph.D., coordinator, Sport and Fitness Psychology Program, California State University, Dominguez Hills)
A thoughtful, comprehensive, and engaging read for parents of young athletes. Smoll and Smith summarize the rich data relevant to youth sports in a way that is accessible, relatable, and essential for parents. They include everything from nutrition and injury to stress and coaching, noting relevant differences for children and teens. Most impressive, they highlight the important role that parents can play to strengthen and ensure the benefits of sports for their children. Fantastic! (Stacy L. Frazier, associate professor of psychology, Center for Children and Families, Florida International University)
Once again, youth sports pioneers Frank Smoll and Ron Smith, have written a book for parents that covers broad topics of concern in youth sports and clearly gives guidelines to many of the issues that arise with their child's participation. Not only does the book cover familiar topics as addressing excessive pressure that comes with overemphasis on winning, but discussed are a myriad of topics of current concern, such as coping with youth sports injuries, stress on young athletes, gender issues, what to do when asked to coach, and a guide for survival of the youth sports experience. Smoll and Smith have produced a very useful, wide-ranging and practical guide for parents with children in sports. (Bill Ford, director, Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), Diocese of Oakland, California)
About the Author
Frank L. Smoll, Ph.D., is professor of Psychology and a member of the Center for Child and Family Well-Being at the University of Washington. Smoll’s research focuses on coaching behaviors in youth sports and on the psychological effects of competition on children and adolescents. He has authored more than 130 scientific articles and book chapters and coauthored/edited 22 books and manuals on children’s athletics. Smoll is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the National Academy of Kinesiology, and the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). Smoll is a Certified Sport Consultant and was the recipient of AASP’s Distinguished Professional Practice Award. As an undergraduate, he played on championship basketball and baseball teams, and he is a member of the Ripon College Athletic Hall of Fame. In the area of applied sport psychology, Smoll has extensive experience in conducting psychologically oriented coaching clinics and workshops for parents of young athletes.
Ronald E. Smith, Ph.D., is professor of Psychology and Director of the Clinical Psychology Training Program at the University of Washington. He has also served as head of the Social Psychology and Personality area, and as codirector of the sport psychology graduate program. Smith’s major research interests are in personality, stress and coping, and performance enhancement research and intervention. He has published more than 200 scientific articles and book chapters, and he has authored or coauthored 34 books and manuals. Smith is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, a past president of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, and the recipient of a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute for his contributions to the field of mental health. For 12 years, he directed a psychological skills training program for the Houston Astros and has served as team counselor for the Seattle Mariners and as a training consultant to the Oakland Athletics and to Major League Soccer.