BJJ Parents: Know When You’re Going Too Far
It happens in every sport – overbearing, pushy, and even bullying parents. There’s almost no way to escape the parent aggressively coaching from the sidelines in class and in competition, the parent who always have concerns that a coach isn’t paying enough attention to their child, or the parent who doesn’t train but seems to know more about Jiu-Jitsu than the coaches. Sometimes parents are oblivious, other times they don’t care to change after they’ve been asked to take a back seat when their child trains/competes.
Here’s some red flags to recognize when you’re going too far:
Your child always looks to you for recognition during training or competition. When you begin to put too much pressure on your child to perform and are often shouting to them from the sidelines (whether positive or negative reinforcement), they will often seek you out for recognition before their own coaches. This further reinforces the fact that you are not letting the coaches do what they are paid to do.
Your child acts entitled and talks back to their coaches. When a child tells their coach “you can coach me too you know!” during a roll in which they are “winning” and doing everything correct, this means that the child is getting additional and unnecessary coaching from their parents who aren’t even on the mats with them. I mean, where else would a 9-year-old come up with this kind of stuff unless fed to by their parents?
You keep pulling your kids out of academies because they aren’t “good enough” or you are not satisfied with the coaching. Your kid needs stability. At home and outside of the home. If you keep pulling them out of BJJ programs because YOU don’t think they are good enough for them or because you feel something is wrong with the coaching, you need to take into account what you child wants. Are they having fun? Are they learning? Do they like their coaches? These are important things – sometimes more important than your idea of what is best for them when it is really what you want because you’re trying to live vicariously through their training.
The reality is that this is not your training, it is your child’s. If you want to get on the mat, that’s great – but don’t force YOUR expectations or goals on your kid. It is not fair to them and sometimes they are too young to understand the difference between what you want and what they actually want for themselves. Jiu-Jitsu should be something fun for them and something that they want to do. The more you push them, the more you may push them away from BJJ altogether. And who knows? Maybe they might be the next Buchecha or Lucas Lepri… but until then, be supportive through the good and bad times, let them have fun and have fun learning on their own terms.