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Parents: Encourage Your Kid To Try EVERYTHING Before Intervening

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John O'Sullivan (@coachjohnnyo) started the Changing the Game Project in 2012 after two decades as a soccer player and coach on the youth, high school, college and professional level. He is the author of the #1 bestselling books Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes, and Giving Youth Sports Back to our Kids and Is it Wise to Specialize? John is also a regular contributor for, and his writing has been featured in many publications including The Huffington Post and Soccer America.

O'Sullivan recalls an old memory where he thought he deserved more playing time, so he asked his father to talk to the coach. His father responded with the question, "Are you doing everything you can to earn playing time?" His father went on to ask if he put in extra time, worked out extra, or worked harder than everyone else. Essentially, O'Sullivan's father was encouraging him to try new strategies (which reinforces the growth mindset), rather than stepping in as that parent. When O'Sullivan responded that he had not done these things, his dad told him he would only step in after O'Sullivan had done everything he could. Parents need to let their children do everything in their power to earn playing time before they talk to the coach.