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Shawn Johnson's Advice To Sports Parents

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Shawn Johnson (@ShawnJohnson) captured America's imagination as the 2008 Olympic balance beam gold medalist and team, all-around and floor exercise silver medalist. In 2009, she received the prestigious AAU James E. Sullivan Award, given to the U.S. athlete who best represents the qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship, and the ideals of amateurism. Johnson and her teammates were inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2013.

Here, Shawn explains the role of a sports parent. She encourages parents to avoid getting overly wrapped up in their child's athletic identity (or for that matter, in a child's identity as mathematician or violinist). "A big mistake is when parents try to be a coach, as well."

While there are obvious exceptions, such as the many parents who volunteer to coach their children's teams, parents who focus on parenting and let their kids be kids are ideal. Bottom line is that Shawn's advice to parents is to be loving and supportive, "push them a little, but always in a loving way."