Dear Billy,

I think my wife and I have made a big mistake. We bought our two boys (6th and 3rd grade) the wii game for Christmas. All they have done the last eight days is play the game non-stop.

While both are good athletes we are now concerned that they will spend more time playing wii than actually practicing sports.

Any suggestions? We had heard that the game was great for teaching sports, but we are concerned because of the lack of physical activity. Are we being over concerned in your viewpoint? Old Time Parents in Indy


Dear Old Time Parents,

What you are seeking is a balance for your kids. Only you as parents can make those decisions. Do you have time limits on the games? Do you make them go outside and play which results in physical activity? How are their grades in school?

Once school starts back you need to place restrictions on when they can play the video games and for how long. Try and balance it with homework, sports activities, and computer time. Keep a close eye on their grades and keep them involved with their sports.

Balance is the key to help develop any young person socially and physically. Be sure to monitor their time in all facets of their lives, just not video games. That way you will have well rounded young men as they continue to grow up, whether they play sports or not.


Dear Parents,

This past week I had a nice conversation with a sports father. This particular dad was a college athlete and he was telling me about his oldest son, who is 12.

He stated that this was the first year that he hasn't been "riding" his son after every youth basketball practice and games. He mentioned that in the past he was always trying to correct his mistakes and would continue to get on him about his performance.

This year he took a different approach. Instead of the dad instigating the conversation after practice or game, he waits until his son speaks up. While he said it has been very difficult keeping his mouth shut, it is paying off and his kid is actually playing better than ever.

This is a good lesson for all sports parents. I feel that much too often it's the parents that cause the kids to lose interest in their sports, not the other way around.

Be that supportive parent, not the pushy one. I think you will get better results!


Sports Parenting Tip of the Week

One of my favorite sports sayings is "a hungry hound hunts the hardest." A simple statement with a lot of truth with it. Young athletes who have to work hard for a positive result will have a greater sense of accomplishment than one who is just handed opportunity. Are you raising a "hungry hound"?


We encourage your questions on sports parenting and athletics. Send to or write P. O. Box 70 Carmel, IN 46082.

Billy Shepherd is a former Indiana Mr. Basketball and a professional athlete (ABA) who earned 15 varsity letters in high school. His father was a Hall of Fame coach and Billy's two sons attended college on athletic scholarships. Billy has been speaking on parenting athletes for 19 years.