#84: Q&A: Is It Okay To Give Performance Feedback To My Daughter?

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After your daughter’s performance, does she also ask you how she played? If she did, how do you respond to that question?

“Is it ever okay to give feedback to my daughter? Sometimes she asks me how I think she played. How do I respond? I don’t want to lie to her (if she didn’t do that well), but also don’t want to cross the line to ‘coach.’

We received this question from a mom in our community, and from this tone, we could tell that she is in the Elite Competitive Program. In this program, we provide a framework for moms on how to support their athlete daughter, which basically revolves around what they can say and what not to say. 

As parents, it could be confusing to decide how to frame our words when our daughter asks us what we think about their performance. We have the urge to be truthful about what we actually think, but also hold back because we might end up coaching them instead (although if you literally are their coach, that would be an entirely different scenario). Have you also been to this dilemma before? So what should you say then?

Playing Your Role in Your Athlete’s Experience

It is important to understand that as parents, we have the tendency to play four different kinds of roles that could impact our daughter’s athletic performance. These roles are that of an athlete, coach, ref, or parent. Among these four roles, you already know that being a parent is already chosen for you. You cannot play the female athlete because this is her experience. You cannot play the ref, because you’re not the one calling the games, and you also cannot be the coach, because you don’t give her coaching tips and talks like that. However, your role is very crucial as the parent, because your job is to support the athlete. 

So how do you show this support without crossing the boundaries of the other roles? Here are some recommendations that worked from our years of coaching experience:

  • Train your daughter to look to themselves for validation.

It is very normal for our daughters to ask us what we think about their performance because it could boost their confidence. But as parents, we don’t want them to constantly look around to get other people’s validation, especially from us, of how well they did. Your goal is to help your daughter look into themselves and form a confident mindset about their performance.

  • Ask self-reflection questions.

When your daughter asks you what you think about her performance right after a game, direct the question back to her. You can ask questions like, what did you want to achieve before you played? Were you able to accomplish your goals in the game? What were you proud of when you played? Let her explore these questions so that she will be trained to validate for herself that she did the right things in the game. 

If you want to know more about what other questions you could ask your daughter, we actually provide a whole list of these in our lead competitor program. You could check out the links below to see how you could secure your own copy.

  • Use “I notice” statements.

Sometimes, however, your daughter would beat around the bush because they are also still trying to build on this self-validation behavior. Or, after you have let them explore their thoughts, they still want to hear what you think. Or perhaps you have also played the sport before that’s why they are asking you your thoughts. In this case, you could frame your words starting with “I notice…” but the goal would still be that you redirect the question to her. You could say something like, “I noticed that you were not actually as aggressive as you normally were. Did you notice that too? I wonder why you did that.” 

One important reminder in this matter. Exercise care when you deliver these kinds of responses because it could be tempting to give them your list of what you have “noticed”. If so, you would be directing your daughter’s sense of validation back to you again. 

  • Highlight what she did well at.

In relation to using the “I notice” statements, see to it that you could also mention the actual good things that she did in the game. Accompany this with verbiages that also boost her confidence as an athlete. You could say something like, “I noticed that you were staying open on defense. That was a great decision that you did there.” In this way, you are actually letting her see that she is the one in charge and you are helping her see that perspective.

The Importance of Staying in Your Parent Role

In providing your own words of support that would essentially direct the confidence back at your daughter, you are in fact building her mindset to trust in her capacity and skills as an athlete. While being a parent is irreplaceable, you would also want to build up your daughter’s confidence in a way that helps her make sure decisions when already in the game. Keep in mind that the more you redirect the words of validation or the confidence boosts back to her, the stronger you build her athletic mindset. Along with this, the stronger your daughter’s mindset is, the bigger her competitive advantage will be. 

If you want to go deeper into this discussion, you can join the Elite Competitive Program (ECP) specifically for the athlete’s moms. You will learn to navigate these kinds of tricky situations when you feel like your daughter has cornered you to say things that would make them develop that validation dependence on you. The ECP is now open for the waitlist. Just head on to https://www.kristinabreanne.com/ECP

The ECP will be starting sometime in July. We are already planning to open our doors to this program. So if you want to strengthen your parent role and learn other practical ways how to increase confidence in your daughter, enroll on this waitlist and receive regular communication about the program. 


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