Can We Agree To Stop Comparing Our Kids’ Athletic Development?

Can We Agree To Stop Comparing Our Kids’ Athletic Development?

I have a confession to make. If I’ve seen your kid play a sport, I’ve probably judged him by how he compares to my boys. I’m not proud of it, and I don’t feel good about myself when I admit to this.

It’s petty, small minded and a little pathetic. Actually, no… it’s not a little pathetic. It’s 100%, full on pathetic. And I don’t know why I do it.

How my boys compare against yours has nothing to do with their own development process and their youth sports experience.

Fortunately, I don’t fall into this comparison game all the time. It’s not a constant thing, but occasionally I notice myself doing it and I don’t like it.

I mean, I guess it’s the ugly side of being a competitive person. But comparing my son’s athletic development against yours is about the least productive thing I can think of when it comes to youth sports. Only bad things can come of it.

I honestly wonder if it’s my own internal struggle with how I feel about myself. Since I struggle with my own self-confidence and self-worth at times, maybe comparing my kids against yours makes me feel better about myself – especially if I think that my kids are better athletes than your kids. I don’t know.

The first step to overcoming a problem is admitting that you have a problem, right? 

Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

Those  are wise words from Theodore Roosevelt. He felt that comparing your work, your life or whatever else will only serve to make you unhappy.

The dumb thing is, I know this already. And I’m usually pretty quick to catch myself playing the comparison game when it comes to comparing myself and my life to others. I know that’s a losing proposition.

So why do I struggle when it comes to comparing my kids against yours? I wish I had an answer.

Have you ever felt yourself get a little disappointed or annoyed when one of your kid’s teammates makes a great play? I have! How dumb is that? Being in that negative mindset makes watching my kid’s games so much less fun. The thief of joy is right!

I have the most fun at my kids’ games when my head is in the right place and I’m rooting for the team as a whole and not just my kid. My greatest memories of my kids’ games are when their teams did great things TOGETHER.

Social Media Sure Doesn’t Help

If it wasn’t for social media, I’d only be tempted to compare my kids’ athletic performance with kids on their teams or teams they play against. But since I can see highlights and videos of other kids all over Facebook and Instagram, I can get sucked into the comparison game of kids I’ve never seen play in person.

I’ve actually watched videos that other proud sports parents have posted on Facebook and thought things like, “That wasn’t that great of a shot.” “He’d never make it on my kid’s team.”

How messed up is that!?

Here Are Six Things That Happen When We Play The Comparison Game With Our Kids

  1. We blind ourselves to the progress our kids are making in their own development.
  2. We miss out on the enjoyment of watching our kids do something that makes them happy.
  3. We put our kid’s before the team and lose the “team first” mentality.
  4. We create a subconscious competition between ourselves and other parents on the team.
  5. We get dangerously close to basing our self-worth on how our kids stack up against their peers.
  6. We can unfairly compare our kid to another kid who has 10X the talent and drive.

Do You Play The Comparison Game With Your Kid’s Sports Too?

Here’s the thing, I know I’m not alone in this struggle. I know there are other sports parents who fall into this trap too, because I’ve had conversations about other kids with some of you. I’ve discussed and compared other kids with other parents on my kids’ teams. And in 99.9% of the conversations we aren’t talking about the great things that the best players on the team do. Nope. Instead we’re usually focused on the bad things that some players do. The conversations are almost always negative.

I never walk away from those conversations feeling good about myself.

If you’re with me in the struggle to avoid comparing your kid against mine, I’d like to invite you to join me in making a pledge.

I Pledge To Stop Comparing My Kids’ Athletic Development With Your Kid’s

This is going to be my #1 goal over the next sports seasons.

I pledge to be mindful about not comparing my kids with others. I pledge to enjoy my kids’ development at their own pace. I won’t use other kids as benchmarks for my kids’ development. I will root for every youth athlete to have success, and I will enjoy witnessing the happiness they feel from their accomplishments. I understand that the success of other athletes doesn’t take away from my kids’ achievements or progress. I also recognize that the failures of other athletes don’t make my kids any better. I will not gossip about other athletes with other parents. I will maintain a positive mindset and celebrate all youth athletes.

Instead Of Comparing Our Kids, Let’s Celebrate Them

Here’s an idea… Whenever we feel the urge to start comparing another kid to ours, let’s pause and focus on something positive we can say or think about the other kid. Let’s ask questions like, what does that kid excel at? What value does he bring to the team? Fill our minds with nothing but positive attributes. Because let’s be honest. Usually when we get into comparing, we’re looking for negative things to point out about the other kid.

However, in the event that our comparing minds begin to point out the negative things our kids do compared to other kids, let’s focus on the positive things that our kids bring to the table. It’s really just about having a conscious and positive mindset shift.

This post is really serving as a form of self therapy for me. And I hope that maybe it’s helping you, if you needed this too.

Thanks for reading,


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