Episode 42 – Youth Sports Parenting with Hernan Chousa

Your Sports Resource


Parents strongly impact children’s performance, and how we behave adds or subtracts to the equation.

In this episode, we talked about:

  • The four essential cards to play to be a successful sports parent.
  • Does a parent have the right to interfere with the Coache’s ability to coach?
  • How to handle parents’ disappointment?

About the guest:

He is a former professional tennis player willing to share his experiences in parenting through books, talks, and online courses. He published My Son the Tennis Player, How to Help Your Kid Succeed in Sports, and has just released ParentShift, The Skills You Need to Become a Super Parent.

He also wrote Unplugged, A Rock Story, his first novel, where he could fuse two passions: music and writing.

Connect with Hernan:

Parentshift Online Course:
(Use Code: ren777)



00:00:03 – Introduction

This is the Your Sports Resource podcast, where each week, you’ll learn actionable strategies that you can implement so the operations of your club support your coaching staff and the direction of your organization. We are committed to excellence in youth sports leadership.


Let’s get started.


Hello and welcome everybody to the Your Sports Resource podcast. Today, I have a special guest Hernan Chousa. He is an Argentinian author, businessman, and public speaker.


He lives in Buenos Aires and runs a global zinc flake coating business. He is a former professional tennis player willing to help his experiences in parenting through books, talks, and online courses.


He published “My Son, the tennis player, “How to help your kids succeed in Sports,” and has just released “Parentshift: The skills you need to Become a super parent”. He also wrote “Unplugged, a rock story,” his first novel where he could fuse 2 passions, music and writing.


He is married to Mariana and has two sons, Julian and Sebastian. All right, welcome, Hernan.


Hi Renata. Thanks for having me today in your podcast.


Oh, no problem. Listen, I started to. I found you. I think you found me. One of us found each other on LinkedIn and social media.


And I really started to connect with your posts regarding, you know, parents and how to parent and athlete properly for both each side’s success. So, the parent can be happy, and the child can be happy.


So, what led you to, you know, this type of endeavor or this work? Putting out information for parents who have, who are parenting athletes.


Well, as you said I’m a former tennis player, and I have two sons, Julian, Sebastian and they played tennis since they were young and even though I very used at tennis, I made plenty of mistakes with them.


They start playing really early, three or four years old, and Julian, the elder one, was really gifted. He was one of the best in the country under 10 under 12 and played international tournaments and at that moment.


He just start putting more passion in his tennis than himself, you know? And his drive about tennis start to settle and he’s ranking too. And later on, 15 years old, he quit tennis. And at that moment I started writing my first book, My Standard Tennis Play, where I share some insights about the circuit and start dissecting all the things and the threats that are in youth sports parenting.


Because when I, when my kids play, no one told me about how to behave, how to act, what to be aware about. And I thought I have all the answers and I realized that I didn’t.


And sometimes it happened to me that I gave some advice to some relatives or some friends, and they are kind of in on a microcosmos that they don’t listen. You know that they use parenting. And it’s a really tough environment.


So, we have to be aware of it and we have to work on certain skills, you know.


Yeah, I mean that’s interesting because you talk about, I think I can relate to growing up as an athlete. You think you got a handle on how to parent your children as athletes, and it’s very different because, you know, we expect them to.


Not to say that, you know we were the best athletes, or we handled ourselves the best, but we always expect them to live up to our own expectations as we were as athletes and we have to understand that they’re and we would never put this on any other kids.


So, I just think it’s really interesting that you form that relation of like,ohh just because I was an athlete, maybe I really don’t know how to parent an athlete.


Yeah, what happened is that we think that our kids are the best in town and we treat them like superstars and have to find their own way, they have to make their own mistakes, and they have to go with their own path, you know?


So, we want to avoid them of making mistakes, and we are making some errors in that way of thinking.


So, I read in one of your blog posts that there are four essential cards to play for successful parenting or sports parenting. And those are one, be aware of our words and actions, two, work with professionals, so the coaches. Three, family balance, and four, encourage effort, not results.


And I think one and two people really do understand, but what I’d really love to do is have you dive into points three and four like family balance and encourage effort and not results.


OK, there are a couple of things about family balance. First is that we tend to compare our kid with another ones and there’s always someone better. Always someone better.


And don’t worry if he or she didn’t appear yet, he will come up soon. So never compare your kids to another girl or to another boy, and you can compare himself to his yesterday’s version, how he developed a skill, how he developed a stroke, how he put some weight on the match but never compare him with another kid.


That’s a big mistake parents do. The second thing that I realized in my parenting journey is about the forgotten son. Because when you have a kid that plays sports, maybe you have another one.


That or he or she doesn’t play, or he play in a lower level. So, we tend to forget about this kid, and we don’t dedicate too much time to him or her, or we don’t give them quality time.


So that issue I call the forgotten son. And I happen to see in many, many sports families. And you see many guys that make it in sports that on the bench, there all his brothers, sisters that are kind of relegated, you know.


So there I think you have to be wise enough to make another kind of programs with them. And you mentioned about my novel.


My novel is a way, was a way of unloading my guilt with my youngest son Sebastian because he’s the main character.


We start sharing, sharing his life because he’s involved in music and as I have to write, I have to see some places where he went every day. So, I tried to make some bonding with him in that state, and the other thing is the dinner table.


At the dinner table, sports govern all conversations. That’s a thing that we have to work on. So we have to search for another topics, school topics, music topics, whatever topic that can get the conversation out of sports. Because if not, we are going to talk about sports 100% of the time. And that isn’t healthy, you know.


Yeah, I think that’s really key. I think both those last two points are really key. I don’t know. I don’t know if I would characterize it.


We forget the child, but it is very easy that, you know, if you’re constantly running to practice in events, that you don’t carve out time you know for the child who’s not involved in sports, so I really love that point.


And I had never thought about that before, that we really have to make sure that they get equal time in some way, shape, or fashion, whatever that looks like.


And I definitely hear you on the dinner table because I remember that, you know. Myself being younger, you know, sometimes you just need a break from the conversation, you know, and swimming’s a little bit different, you know, it’s two hours in the morning, two hours at night.


And it’s six days a week. Six days a week, when you’re at a competitive level.


So sometimes you just want to break from talking about sports, and you know, when you’re constantly, and I get why it may come up because parents probably feel like that’s the opportune time to have a conversation because, you know, they haven’t had it all day or all week.


So I get that. But yeah, sometimes it’s really good to choose to go a different direction to normalize their life. Like, how school? How are your friends? How, you know. What do you, what do you want to do this weekend that’s not swimming or any other sport?


I love that. I really love that.


And the second point you mentioned was about prioritizing efforts instead of results. You don’t have control over results.


But when I meant prioritizing efforts, there’s a good story about it, of Kobe Bryant when he quit, when he quit basketball. He start making novels and making some sports character.


Inside to make notice about sports, and it was tough for him to show her daughters that he was working because an office job it’s difficult to show that you are working, so what did he do?


He start training with her kids and start showing them that he was willing to do the effort to train, and to sweat, and to be there.


And that’s a thing that parents maybe can have a good advice because we tend to tell our kids to do the push-ups or to do the Abs, but we’re not willing to do them.


So maybe if we are willing to do them, they were, they’re going to watch us, and they’re gonna relate to our activities, you know.


Yeah, yeah, as long as you don’t make it a competition.


Yeah. Yeah, but. You know something? You’re overweight, and you say, OK, that he have to run 5 miles. Come on, maybe you can run one, or you can do ten push-ups.


Can you focus a little bit more on the encourage effort and not result. Can you give a few more examples on that?


Well, in fact, what I said to you recently is what I do every day because kids don’t relate to words. Kids relate to actions, and I wake up every day at 5:00 AM.


To write every day and my kid know that I’m writing every day at that time, and once he came from a party and he said to my wife, I arrived 4:30 just before my dad wakes up, you know, and he knows that I’m there very early.


So yeah, we didn’t do the work, you know, it’s, and that’s a good example for them, you know.


Yeah, I get you. I get you. All right. So, one of the areas that some coaches really have a hard time is constantly being questioned by parents that feel they know better.


Or that their child is being treated unfairly for whatever reason. It may be true, it just maybe they feel like they want more attention. What advice do you have for parents that feel like they have a right to interfere with the coaches ability to coach?


Yeah, once I asked you a sports psychologist about parenting models, and he said to me there are two models of success, 100% control, maybe you can relate to Richard Williams or totally relaxed, maybe you can relate to Roger Federer than his father doesn’t know whatever he does.


Both models are successful. All in the middle tend to be a failure, and I was in the middle most of the time, and is difficult to be 100% in and 100% out.


So that’s a good thing for parents to know. And the other thing is that parents aren’t in the science at school, at science or at math, they aren’t there.


So why they have to be willing to question the coach at practices, the coach has more time with the player than themselves, so maybe they know certain things than their parents don’t know.


I have a personal story my father used to go to the club where I practice. And he used to question why I was playing in that group and why I wasn’t allowed to play in a higher-level group, you know?


And I play sets every day, and I start lying my scores to my dad, you know. And that’s true because I don’t want to get punished, and once he went to question coaches, and they say, hey, he lose with this guy, he lose with this guy.


So I had a rough time at that moment. But coaches know everything you know, and there is something that.


So essentially, what you’re saying is sometimes, sometimes. The parent. I’m sorry. Sometimes the parent has doesn’t have a true picture about what’s happening. In practice, they only have their one side of you.


What they’ve witnessed or what their child has said, not necessarily exactly what’s happening and not only like. Result wise you know how much effort they’re putting in in practice, but also there might be like a long plan that the coach has like they’ve got a master this piece before they can move on.


And I think that’s probably like a big area that I don’t think that a lot of parents understand that, you know, there is progression, and just because the progression isn’t happening.


The way you think it’s should be happening doesn’t mean that it’s not taking place and you need to have a little bit of confidence in your coach to take them through that.


Yeah, I think that the coach have to have to talk to parents maybe once a month and tell about the goals, what they’re working on, what are the plans. But that’s it.


You know, you don’t have to be every day, all the time. They’re questioning coachwork and if they are in that position they are there for a reason, you know. Maybe there are one coach that isn’t skilled, but mainly they are there for some reason you know.


Yeah, when you said. Total control or no control, were you talking about the parent or the or the athlete?


I’m talking about the parent. In tennis, it’s very common. You see maybe some guys that are trained by their parents. And the relationship is very rough. It’s very rough and abrasive.


And yeah, so maybe I suggest you be more relaxed, you know. And if you’re in the middle and you’re all the time questioning it’s not a good behavior, you know.


OK, so how do you recommend that they back off or unplug from their child support? What would you recommend that they do?


I think there are two main 2 main actions that they can do. The first thing is kind of weird. They don’t want to do it for sure. Not to attend practice I love to attend practices. I love to attend practice.


But yeah, putting pressure on the kid or the girl, and that is their space where they bond with their other guys, other girls, and where they bond with the coach. You know if you were there.


That bonding won’t happen. So I think for parents, it’s better to do other job.


You can leave your kid or your daughter on the field, the swimming pool, and go to read some book, listen to a podcast so you can do something else because if you stay there when you return home, you’re going to talk about the practice for sure.


And the other thing that is important is to pick a hobby. You need some activity outside your kids sports that you do only by yourself, you know.


So you have to get out of your kids sports. You have to work on it because you go back to the sports all the time, and they know that. And they know that you are willing to talk about it, you’re willing to help them.


So it’s this kind of a pressure, you know. If they see you back up. They wanna feel more comfortable.


I love what you said that you know. A lot of coaches try to put coming out of COVID. It was kind of a really good thing because a lot of at the pools, if kids were swimming, parents weren’t allowed to be on deck, and there was a lot of growth that took place.


And I think you hit the nail on the head that that’s their space. Let them have their space right, and if you’re there, then they’re always looking over at you, you know, Is mom watching?


Or am I doing the right things? What is she gonna say? So I really love that the statement of giving them their space. And then also, you know, if you’re there, you’re going to go home and talk about swimming again.


And I think I want the audience to understand if the parent is listening, that it’s not that we.


It’s not that we’re telling you not to talk to your kid about their sport, however, when it becomes the dominant or the main conversation of everything that you talk about from morning to the end of the day that comes.


It feels like pressure, whether that’s your intention or not, right? Don’t you think that’s the case? The kid interprets that as pressure.


Yeah, parents can relate better if I say that they are micromanaging their kid. If you’re in your job and your boss is all the time, they’re talking about that Excel that you mess it up and that job that you miss, and it’s kind of unhealthy, you know?


So don’t micromanage your kid. Leave your kid, your daughter, be by their own. Be available. For sure, if you back up, they will ask for some advice or for some help and give the help.


Give the help, but don’t brag about it because we tend to brag about it when we do something right. You know, it happens to me also. Yeah, maybe you nail it. But then you don’t have to brag about it.


Yeah, cause you will be humbled pretty quickly. Like you said, someone else is gonna come along, right?


I mean, it’s good to be proud of your child about accomplishing something, right, but just make sure it’s balanced with the little humble humbleness and that, you know, they will either stumble in order to grow or someone else is going to come along and knock them off the pedestal, right?


So how should parents handle that disappointment in their child’s performance like? So it doesn’t totally crush the child, right? Because I think it’s natural for us to like really want them to excel.


You know, maybe they have, you know, in swimming. Maybe they have a desire to make a cut, to go to a certain meet, or to drop certain amount of seconds in their time, and they’re going to be disappointed, and I think.


That’s if they don’t reach it, and I think it’s natural for them to be disappointed. But how do we make sure that we don’t pile on to that disappointment?


We have to understand that failure. It’s an opportunity for them to grow, and they have to come back by their own. They don’t want to listen our words. And maybe there are a couple of things that I can share about confidence and happened to me.


1st is to join us, lower group. Because you need to win, you know. And the best way to win, to learn to win, is winning. When I was young, I was 12-13 years old. I practiced in a club. We are a ton of kids and girls, and they split it into two groups.


The good ones, and the not so good ones and I thought that I was going to be on the good ones, but I end up being on the on the on the B group. But the good thing, I was really upset.


But the good thing is that I was the best in this group and the coach play all the time with me, and I practiced a lot, and after six months I started beating all the good ones 1 by 1.


So being a slower group and learning to win and getting used to win is a big thing.


I like learning to win. That’s really good.


The only way to learn to win is winning. You can go to a lower group, it’s a great confidence booster, and the other thing is practice.


The other day I was reading a quote about Michael Phelps that he said that he practiced one year long every Saturday and Sundays and that’s a good example.


You know, maybe if you’re underrated in your sports, you have to practice more. You have to set the bar high. When I was 14 at the club, there was some kind of vacation, and I went to train to the USA.


I trained 2 months, and then when I came back, I qualified to the Nationals. It wasn’t a miracle. I practice 5 hours a day, you know, while the kids were on the beach.


So how do you translate that into a parent not piling on that disappointment, though? Like, how do how do parents handle their disappointment? What should they do if they’re disappointed in a child’s performance?


I think parents have to leave the initiative to the kid. They don’t have to rush and give solutions. Solutions have to be from the kid, and if the kid wants to train more, OK, you give the resources to train more.


And if the kid wants to do that, OK, you keep the resources to do that. But the main thing has to be from the kid, and maybe you can have a conversation with the coach. How the coach see your son or daughter?


How does she feels and he and the coach maybe can give her a better, a better approach to the topic. And you don’t erode the relationship with your son or daughter, you know.


Yeah, I was reading something the other day that talked about, and I added it to this parents handbook that I wrote for swimming, and there’s two sides of it, and that was.


Be OK with your child being disappointed in their performance, right? And let them have that space to be disappointed. Right? So don’t add on to it by your own disappointment, but also like don’t go in with fake.


It’s OK, you know, I thought you did great. Like, cause they know they know how they performed. So just I think be there for their disappointment and stand there and be around them and show them that you support them.


Sometimes it doesn’t always come in the form of words because I think we tend when we come in with words, we come in on either side. We come in hard and hot, you know because we’re all so disappointed.


Or we try to hide the fact that they didn’t have a great race or practice or whatever it is, and when we do that, then we kind of discount them, and we discount their opportunity.


You know, I think one of the biggest things that you learn in sports is how to set goals and how to handle failure. Right, because not every race or match or whatever it is ends the way you think it’s going to end, right?


Even if you’ve had a great two months leading up to it, and you know you’re going to nail this time and this at this meet, and something happens on the day, right?


So sometimes disappointment really comes, and the kid needs to learn how to process that and overcome it. So by you coming in hot, you know, puts even more pressure so they won’t learn and grow.


And by you saying ohh it’s OK. I think you did great. There’s nothing to learn there. So, I think we as parents need to learn to just say to be there in that space with them and be OK with them being disappointed in helping them out of it.


Yeah, I agree 100%. I can add some practice because we all want to talk. We want to solve the problem. So, a couple of deep breaths before talking can be great. So maybe take 5 minutes.


And then if you want, if you still want to say what you intended to say, OK, say, but take some time to think about it, you know.


Yeah, yeah, I mean something I do with my clients. Maybe I should have done with my own kids when I was younger. Is, am I? Do you want me to help you solve your problem, or do you want me to listen?


You know, and then that’s what I provide. And I think a lot of times clients are like, yeah, yeah, I know. I just want to vent. OK, that’s cool. I’m here.


OK, so you have a course online. Can you tell us about that?


In fact, I am a big fan of courses or reading books. And I find courses very, very helpful to build muscle to chain habits, because it’s a progressive learning that course, the genesis of that course was a talk that I have to give in a presentation summit.


And then the host said to me OK, just the next summit, and you can load a course if you want. So I recorded it, and it’s 25 videos. And the good thing is there’s one task every video, so you can watch one video per day.


And you perform the task all day long, so you’re continuously performing on your habits and building your parenting skills.


Oh, I love that.


And yeah, because you know something. We, our habits, our parents habits, and maybe they are not the healthier, you know. So we have to change our model.


We have to change our model, and the only way to change is repetition. If you read a book, maybe you are one hour reading the book, but at the end, you’re going to start with the same old habits you know.


So you have to start building new connections in your brain. Start practicing different things.


Where can they find this course and what’s the name of it.


Parent shift is the name of the course, and you can find it on my website. It’s hernanchousa.com and I create a coupon for your followers. The coupon is R-E-N, your name ren777. It’s a 30% discount coupon.


And I think I am a big course purchaser, you know, and I think if you get one idea, it’s worth it. Just one idea, because it can change your life. One idea can change your life. There I explain about not attending practices. What to say or not to say on the right home, the family table.


That’s great.


Yeah, many things. Many things to take into account that I didn’t have it when I had my two kids, you know. And now that my kids grown up and have all this stuff on the web and online, I have to be a better parent, you know.


Now that you can look back and you’re not in the middle of it.


I have to have patience. I have to shut my mouth. I have to do many things because I’m involved in this business, you know.


Well, I’ll put the links and the discount code in the notes for the show. Where else can people find you?


I’m pretty active on LinkedIn. You put my name on LinkedIn and on Instagram, Instagram, my my nickname is Hernan.chousa. And that’s are my main social media platforms.


OK, wonderful.


I have one last question for you. So, if you had one piece of advice for parents, what would it be if you had one shot and had to make the most impact in 30 seconds? What would that one piece of advice be?


My advice take care of your significant other. Because it’s the only person that will be there for you. Coaches pass. Friends pass. But your significant other will be there, and I’ve seen too many broken couples in sports, mostly when results paid up.


Yeah, it’s a really challenging to have a kid playing sports. It’s very tough there. So you have to be very bonded with your significant other. Don’t listen to the outer noise.


And I want to end with a quote that when I dedicate my book, I put this quote all the time, and I think it’s very nice. And it says like this.


You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons, and if you treat them like sons, they turn out to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes.


That’s amazing. Yeah, that’s amazing. I love it. And I really love your statement about taking care of your significant other because I did not expect you to go that direction.


He threw me a curveball, but it’s so true. Thank you for that. I really do appreciate it. Alright, so I will put all of your information in the show notes so everybody can find you. Find your course.


And maybe we’ll link to your books and your website and everything there so everybody can find you. I really appreciate you joining us today and sharing your wisdom about working with parents.


And I hope this message reaches a lot of parents and that they go and get your course and learn and develop those habits, which I love, that it’s one a day develop that habit for the day. I love it.


Yeah, thank you. I feel really, really comfortable. The conversation I think was very, very helpful and yeah, it’s an everyday process, you know.


I used to say that every day you have the opportunity to get closer to your kid, and no matter what happened the day before, you know, every day, you have the chance.


So, and it’s not very, very common. Get some people to work on sports parenting, you know, and I think We are pretty few and we have to make some noise.


All right.


Thank you.


Thank you.