Last week, former American water-polo player, coach, and educator Lynn Kachmarik provided valuable guidance to BISP parents on how they can best support their children in sport, and the importance of monitoring their use of digital media.
Kachmarik is the founder and director of True Brand Sports, which provides workshops around the world to improve the culture of sport at the youth, high school, and collegiate level.
Following on from her professional development session with BISP PE staff and coaches, Kachmarik’s parent workshop titled Parenting our youth in the face of technology and competitive sports highlighted many harsh realities of modern-day sport and the impact of excessive use of technology.
Over the past eight years, Kachmarik has conducted extensive research and surveys of high school and middle school athletes. She was quick to point out to BISP parents that many student-athletes were under “immense pressure”.
“I’ve seen more stress and anxiety in young athletes today than at any other stage of my career,” she said. “Kids are quitting sport because of fear, anxiety and parent pressure.
“Athletes want their parents to just be there for them and, at times, to simply be quiet. They want their parents to cheer for the entire team, have fun with other parents, and show gratitude for the opportunity.”
Kachmarik also highlighted the importance of instilling good values in children – values that will carry them through life. “If we don’t develop good kids, they’re not going to be good students or good athletes. We need to focus on developing the child, not just the athlete. Kids may just want to win, but who’s in charge? The adults are.”
When it comes to technology, Kachmarik maintains parents should also take the driver’s seat. “The evidence is out there, too much device use is having a detrimental effect on interpersonal communication and it’s affecting family dynamics. But a lot of us aren’t listening.
“If your kids are withdrawing from activities or looking sleep-deprived; if there’s been a change in their behaviour or grades, then you need to take control.”
During her three-day visit to British International School, Phuket, Kachmarik also ran personality-based workshops with Year 7, 8 and 9 students, as well as professional development sessions for academic staff.