3 Tips For The Overzealous BJJ Parent

overzealous jiu jitsu parent

It’s great that a parent would partake in the well-being of their child’s life by signing them up for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Some kids don’t have active parents who would do this for them or there may be parents who love their child but simply cannot afford it. It’s really a privilege to sign your child up to BJJ.

Perhaps their child is a toddler or a teen, at any age BJJ can have a positive impact on the rest of their lives.

Personally BJJ was not present in many locations in the US when I was coming up in it.

But I know from being a wrestler all my life it was a common occurrence to see a kid with great success early that ended up quitting the sport in or before high school because they felt “burnt out.”

Sometimes it was evident that their parent was a bit overbearing or overzealous about their child doing the sport. They would be seen yelling in the stands in dramatic fashion. They would be yelling at the referee, their kid, even others in the crowd.

It’s okay to love your child but to put added pressure on them at a very early age can take a toll on the fun part of being in sports and making their own choices.

Imagine that you must train a sport for many years but you do not like it after the first year. You would be going through the motions waiting for it to end. And perhaps you would rebel when given the chance to finally make your own choices.

This isn’t to say it’s not good to have your child try out different sports and encourage them.

But there is a line between the child’s choices and the parents.

And it’s often a good idea that some parents take a step back at times and allow their child to have their coaches do the work and allow the child to decide if they wish to continue on their own terms.

If you are an overzealous Jiu Jitsu parent there is a great chance you don’t know it.

That’s okay. It’s normal to want to care about your child but let’s see if it’s going a bit overboard so perhaps you can take a step back.

Without further ado, 3 tips:

  1. Your child is not you. No matter how hard a parent will try to live through their child, they are not them. When your child is training Jiu Jitsu let them have fun. If they want to go more days per week then great. Until they are at an age where they want to commit in a deeper way (competition, etc.) then that should be their choice.
  2. Keep it fun. A child doesn’t want their play to be work at a young age. Now unless they choose to compete or choose to raise their level then they should understand that work is part of the process and that’s okay. It’s a great lesson to teach a child that success at an activity they enjoy comes with a bit of work.
  3. Leave it to the coaches. Many coaches in different sports who have been successful say it is better to have another person coach their child when they are younger. In wrestling, Terry Brands and John Smith, two heralded champions with 3 olympic medals between them say they prefer the hands off approach (I gather this by reading between the lines in their interviews). Terry said if his child comes to him he will help him (he doesn’t actively try to overstep the coaches).

I hope this article sheds some light on this topic. Relax and have fun, it will rub off on your child. No need to criticize your child. How will that help them? If you wish to be a critic do so in a positive manner. Heres an example:

Instead of saying “Johnny, it’s wrong.”

Maybe say “That’s a really good effort Johnny. Can you come up with an even better way since you’ve been making so much progress. Let’s see, etc.”

You get the point, by phrasing things in the positive and limiting the criticism you will likely get more out of the child. Studies show kids who are successful at activities will remain in those activities longer than less successful people. And success early on is often perception-based and relative in many cases. Be an example. What kid wants added pressure put on them from their parent?

What are your thoughts on this topic? What tips would you give an overzealous Jiu Jitsu parent?

READ: 4 Lies We Tell Ourselves In Jiu Jitsu


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