Moms and dads, always remember your “why” when training your child to be an athlete.
What did you originally want when your child got started in whatever sport it is your child participates in?
Training Your Child to Be an Athlete (What to Remember)
In his book, Changing the Game: The Parent’s Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes, and Giving Youth Sports Back to our Kids, John O’Sullivan shares that by Middle School, 70% of kids are done playing sports.
Moreover, there’s a growing trend where athletes are broken down, mentally, physically and spiritually.
The underlying cause of this problem?
Parents are forgetting that, the big picture, winning the game isn’t the ultimate goal.
Yes, we all want our kids to win. But their time as an athlete is only a small part of their lives.
There are many things that they learn from participating in sports that will stick with them long after they hang up their cleats. Things like:
- How to work as a team
It’s important, as parents, to keep the big picture in mind.
Every Child Can Improve Athletic Ability
Not every child is going to be a high level athlete, but everyone can improve their athletic ability in some capacity.
The key is to encourage them to enjoy the process and make sure that they stick with it.
That means keeping the big picture in mind at all times and remembering why they started playing sports in the first place. And beyond that, why did YOU want them to participate in sports, originally? Most kids (or parents, for that matter) don’t start playing because they love competing.
Most kids want to spend more time with their friends. And they enjoy participating in that particular sport.
For parents, we want our kids to learn the soft skills that come with sports. And we want them to move and get exercise (and possibly just have something that gets them off the sofa and out of the house). We want them to have something they love that’s their own.
We don’t want our kids to play sports to just so they’ll compete and win.
By keeping this big picture in mind, we can reduce the pressure on our kids and increase the likelihood they’ll continue participating in sports past middle school.
Check In with Your Kids
Periodically check in with your kids and ask if you’re behaving in the way that you ask them to behave.
If you aren’t, that’s okay. But it’s important to be self-aware and perform regular self-checks.
It’ll also teach your kids that you hold yourself to the same high standard you expect from them.
Conclusion: How to Help My Kid be More Athletic
Participating in sports is only a small part of our children’s lives. That’s why it’s so important to keep the big picture in mind about why our kids started participating in the first place and what we want them to get out of sports.
The ultimate goal isn’t to win.
The ultimate goal should be to gain all of the other life skills that go along with sports, the lessons that they can take with them for the rest of their lives. Things like:
- Critical thinking
- Respect, and
If we’re always keeping this top of mind and using it to measure our own behavior, our kids will be far more likely to stick with the sport through their entire sports career and continue loving it as an adult.