Muffet McGraw: Parents must let their kids fail

November 30, 2018 / Coaching
Muffet McGraw doesn’t believe athletes today are that much different than the generations who came before them. She does, however, believe parents have changed quite a bit.

Photo: Courtesy of Notre Dame athletics

In the days leading up to the TCL Vancouver Showcase, the Notre Dame women’s basketball coach was asked her thoughts on collegiate and youth sports. Here are some of her comments, as reported by The Province.

“Parents today don’t want to give their child a chance to fail. The first time there’s adversity, the kids don’t know what to do. They are not able to fight through things.

“I think freshman year is hard. I think everybody has a tough time freshman year. For generations, freshmen have been calling home several times and saying how much they hate it and how things are not working and parents have been letting them vent before explaining that a commitment has been made and it’s going to be followed up on and ‘we’ll see you at your game next week.’

“Now it’s different. Now you’ve got some parents who I think are like, ‘You’re probably right.’”

McGraw has won two national titles (2001, 2018) in her 32 years at Notre Dame. She’s not alone in her concerns over parents or athletes’ abilities to handle adversity. Michigan State men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo has shared similar thoughts on how athletes today are quick to transfer schools instead of facing challenges head on.

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The Province also asked McGraw about specialization — she’s not a fan.

“Do I think we’re specializing at too young an age? Absolutely. I hate it,” she told The Province. “You don’t have to pick one sport when you’re 10 or 12 years old.”

“You learn so many things playing different sports. You may play something where you’re not the best player on the team. You learn what it’s like to be in that situation and how to handle it. It can help you down the line.”

Read the full story at The Province.

One thought on “Muffet McGraw: Parents must let their kids fail”

  1. Great article. As a small business owner, I agree with Coach Mcgraw’s thoughts on the importance of allowing our children to fail. For the overwhelming majority of student-athletes, those that go pro in something other than sports, the greatest life lesson the will likely learn from sports is how to bounce back. There is nothing wrong with failing as long as we are learning from it!

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