The Four Key Questions to Ask Your Athlete with Alan Stein Jr

It’s a serious commitment to be a youth sports parent and it can be challenging, at times, to find the best way to support your child through their journey. It takes time, money, and emotional energy to stand on the sidelines and provide healthy motivation at home, while leaving room for your child to grow and learn on their own. This week, author, motivational speaker, and performance coach Alan Stein Jr. talks about parenting a young athlete. 

It comes down to modeling the behaviors you want to see them learn and use in everyday life, he says. “I think every parent needs to get great clarity on why you want your children to play sports. And that’s not for me to answer for anyone. That’s for each and every parent to articulate,” says Stein. Once you know why you want them to be there, you can develop the tools to help guide them. As parents, the unseen hours between games and practices, sometimes without our kids around, can be the most important for holistically improving ourselves and building the structures and frameworks to support our families.

Things You’ll Learn:

  • Be realistic about the standards you’re setting
  • Avoid coaching from the sidelines
  • Practice meaningful repetition to improve
  • Reinforce the behavior you want to see reflected
  • Recognize the difference between preparation and performance


“Here’s what’s most important to me (in a coach). Is this coach a good role model? Does he have high character and moral values? Does he hold my kids accountable to doing the same? Does he provide a fun environment where my kids can not only learn a skill, but enjoy the process? Is he teaching and reinforcing these life lessons that I believe are so important? If he’s doing all of those things, that’s all that I’m looking for.” -Alan Stein Jr.

“The seeds we plant with our children at the dinner table and to and from practices in the car — those things carry heavy weight. This is why it’s so important … that you are reinforcing the behavior that you want to see not only with your child, but that you want to see through sport and through the coach.” -Alan Stein Jr.

“You’re going to go through life and you’re going to meet a lot of people that aren’t very good at what they do. You’re going to meet a lot of people that don’t do things the way that you like. Our kids are going to face all kinds of adversity in life and I want my children to learn how to manage it and deal with it on their own, even at a young age, and not have me bail them out by making excuses, blaming, and complaining.” -Alan Stein Jr.

“The only way your child will be able to maximize their potential is if they’re having fun, they’re working hard, they’re open to coaching, and they’re helping their teammates get better.” -Alan Stein Jr.

“I really believe the best thing we can do as parents for our children is to become the best version of ourselves in every area of our life. I think we should all be paying very close attention to our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing and health. And the more we pour into those things during our own unseen hours, the more we’ll model the type of behavior that we want to see in our children.” -Alan Stein Jr.


You can find out more about Alan Stein Jr. on his website, He’s also on social media @AlanSteinJr. Check out his book, Raise Your Game: High-Performance Secrets from the Best of the Best, online at Stein is currently working on a passion project he hopes to have ready this fall, called The Sideline, which will be a survival guide for youth sports parents.

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Episode 26