Dec 28

Helping Your Child Become A Strong Competitor

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As we approach the New Year and the second part in most sport seasons, I want to address two important and urgent issues. Hopefully, we as coaches can implement changes.

The first deals with the still rising Burnout and Dropout rates in children and youth sports that is presently estimated to continue until age 17! Given the current statistics in the escalating number of inactivity, overweight, and obesity in both the USA and Canada, we have to search for better ways to keep children and teens physically active, involved in sports, and healthy for long-term quality living.

Parents play a major role in this process to keep younger athletes motivated to remain longer in their respective sports. Here are some Guidelines:


Helping Your Child Become A Strong Competitor

  1. Emphasize and reward effort rather than outcome, especially for younger children
  2. Understand that your child may need a break from sports occasionally
  3. Give your child some space when needed – allowing the child to figure things out for him/herself
  4. Encourage and guide your child, not forcing or pressuring him/her to compete
  5. Emphasize the importance of learning and transferring life skills such as hard work, self- discipline, teamwork, and commitment
  6. Emphasize the importance of having fun, learning new skills, developing skills in his/her sport participation, and asking questions
  7. Give unconditional love and support to your child, regardless of the outcome of the day’s competition or game
  8. Enjoy yourself at competitions or games – make friends with other parents, socialize, and have fun
  9. Keep a sense of humor – if you are having fun, so will your child
  10. Look relaxed, calm, and positive when watching your child compete
  11. Realize that your attitude and behavior influences your child’s performance
  12. Have a balanced life of your own outside of sports


The ‘Parent Trap’ of Competition

  1. Thinking of your child’s sport participation as an investment for which you want a return
  2. Living out your dreams through your child
  3. Basing your self-esteem on the success of your child’s sport participation
  4. Caring too much about how your child performs
  5. Doing anything that causes your child to be embarrassed
  6. Feeling that you need to motivate your child – this is the child’s and coach’s responsibility
  7. Ignoring your child’s behavior when it is inappropriate – deal with it constructively so that it does not happen again
  8. Comparing your child’s performance to that of teammates or other children
  9. Showing negative emotions while you are watching your child at a competition or game
  10. Expecting your child to talk with you when he/she is upset – give him/her some time
  11. Making enemies with other children’s parents or the coach
  12. Interfering, in any way, with coaching during practice or competition
  13. Trying to coach your child – leave this to the coach or coaching staff

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