#123: How To Know When To Push And When To Back Off So Your Athlete Daughter Can Play To Her Potential

click here



Do you have an athlete daughter who you know is capable of so much, but it seems like she’s not moving towards her goals? Do you struggle with knowing when to encourage her, and when to hold back and let her do her thing? In today’s episode, we’re talking about how to know when to push her and when to back off so that she can play to her full potential. 

We’ve all been there. The dilemma of “too much, or not enough?” is a feeling that’s all too common as a sports mom. 

Maybe your daughter has said something like, “I really want to make the varsity team” or even, “I want to play my sport in college”. Or maybe she’s told you about specific goals she wants to achieve in her sport. 

But then, you don’t see her doing the things required of these goals. And as the parent, you want to help. You want to encourage her to achieve her goals, but you don’t want to overstep. You don’t want her to shut down, blow up, or feel nagged by you. What do you do?

Step 1: Ask yourself, what is my “why”?

  • Why do you feel the need to push your daughter in this area?
  • Some other questions to ask yourself are questions such as:
    • Is it coming from a self-seeking place? Or a place that has her best interest in mind?
    • Why do I want to push my daughter?
    • What do I even mean by “push”?
    • Where is the desire to push my daughter coming from?
  • I want to challenge you to dig a little deeper!
    • Our own fears and/or desires could be creeping into our “why”, and we could be making her sports journey about us, and not about her.
    • However, it is true that sometimes, athletes do need a little nudge. 
    • But ask yourself, what would happen if you did nothing? What would happen if you let the natural consequences take place? 
    • She will quickly learn that when she doesn’t put the work in, she won’t get the results she’s looking for.
  • Another question to ask yourself – are you and your daughter aligned when it comes to her goals?
    • The first indicator that you might not be aligned is if you don’t know what her specific goals are. 
    • It’s also possible that she hasn’t defined her own goals. 
    • If either of the above are true, ask her what her goals are! Help her understand the goals she has for herself, and what she hopes to achieve. 
  • At the end of the day, it’s important to know that the more you push her, guilt trip her, or nag her, the more likely she is to push back on you.
    • This could lead to frustration and lack of enjoyment in her sport, and she might even end up walking away from her sport altogether.
  • The good news is that there’s a way to tread lightly and be intentional with our daughters. 
  • We want to help them achieve the goals they have for themselves, and there’s a positive and encouraging way to do this instead of having to be negative and pushy! 

Step 2: Recognize the three things our daughters need to excel 

  • For our daughters to excel in their sport they need three things:
    • Enjoyment 
    • Ownership 
    • Intrinsic motivation 
  • All three of these things are from within your daughter, and they don’t come from parental pushing. 
  • When she feels ownership, she has choices and gets to decide things for herself.
    • And when she gets to make her own choices, she’s more likely to enjoy her sport, achieve more, and stick with it long term. 
  • The best thing we can do for our daughters is to help them feel supported in her decisions instead of pushed into decisions.
  • The good news is that in her sport, she likely has a coach. And as her mom, we don’t have to play the role of the coach. We can simply play the role of her mom, and stay in our lane. 
  • A good question to ask your daughter is, “what does support look like from me?” or, “what can I do to support you?”

Step 3: Consider strategies to encourage (instead of push) 

  • Here are some strategies to encourage her towards her goals:
    • Make sure she has a plan.
      • For example, if she’s supposed to be training outside of her sport, make sure she knows how she should be training  
      • This is a great opportunity to give her choices to take ownership, “what days of the week do you want to train on?” or, “where do you want to train?”
    • Some athletes respond well to being challenged.
      • Make sure you know your athlete in this area – would she respond well to a challenge from you? 
      • Ensure that challenging her would encourage her and not feel like added pressure from you. 
    • Don’t underestimate your influence.
      • Model what it looks like to be disciplined and work towards a goal.
      • For example, if you work out, you can model for her that even on days where you don’t want to go to the gym, you go anyway. 
      • Show her what it looks like to push through. 
    • Collaborate with her.
      • Doing things together can be encouraging to her. 
      • Instead of saying things like, “why aren’t you doing this?” you could say, “let’s do this together.”
      • Shape her environment and give her the space to do what she says she wants to do. 


Helpful Links:

The BEST way to help us spread the word and get this information into the hands of millions of parents, coaches, and female athletes is by leaving a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. Thank you in advance for joining us on our mission.

All Episodes, Mom Daughter Relationship, Sports Mom Extras

listen now

In the latest episode of The Raising Unstoppable Girl Athletes Podcast, Coach Bre shares tips on unlocking the power of confidence to help girl athletes excel.

Do This To Be More Confident In Your Next Competition

listen now

Kylie shares her insights into how utilizing resources like those taught inside ECP has helped her level up by improving her mental game.

How To Train The Mental Game w/ D1 Beach Volleyball Player Kylie DeBerg

listen now

ave you ever had to deal with negative teammates? The ones who bring unnecessary drama or negativity to the team dynamic?

Athlete Tip (How To Handle Negative Teammates)

Know what to say with these top episodes

Your Varsity-level skill set

Listen to our most loved 
athlete tips episodes

Looking for tips for your athlete?