Capetonians take their sports seriously. But when it comes to children’s participation in school sport, the danger exists that parents may take it a step too far, placing too much pressure on their children. Gary Kirsten, in partnership with Fairtree, is presenting a series of talks on “Parenting in Sport”, focused on how parents can help their children get the most out of sport participation. The former South African cricket team coach and batsman shared his thoughts at a workshop at Rondebosch Boys High School on Tuesday 17 September.“We’ve forgotten that a school is a place where you go to learn. It’s a place of preparation, not performance. Once you have learnt skills and gained confidence based on real competence, you are better prepared for the stress of performance and competition,” said Kirsten.He said a coach is there to help people become the best version of themselves. Parents have a similar role to play for their children.When it comes to sport participation, it is parents’ responsibility to make the enjoyment of sport a priority in their home.“As a parent, check in with your motives and expectations of your child’s success. Extricate yourself from your kid’s performance and enjoy the whole team’s performance. It is also important to be aware of the message your behaviour on the side of the field sends to your kid.” He said sport participation is a great way to build children’s self-esteem. Parents should be pillars of support. They should learn more about the sport their child is playing and be patient with their progress. “Also be careful of your feedback when driving home after a match,” Kirsten says.He says to attain true success, you have to coach (read parent) to a set of values. One of them is the lesson that a team or a person can’t win all the time.“I see too many kids obsessed with performance rather than matching their individual expectations. And failure can be a gift too – it teaches children that it is okay to take risks.”The next workshop takes place at Springfield Convent on 9 October from 18:00 to 19:30 and at Herschel Girls School on 10 October from 18:00 to 19:30. V For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.