13 Tips Guaranteed To Help Your Child Succeed In Youth Sports
Managing Your Child’s Sports Career:
There are a million thoughts, ideas and philosophies on how to help your kids get the most out of their participation in youth sports and activities. From Baseball to Soccer to Band to the Debate Club to Student Council, the rules are the same.
Here are 13 important tips to help you reinforce to your kids that you believe in them and that they should believe in themselves.
1. Keep your nose clean!
It goes without saying that if you are in trouble; you are not going to play, period. As a parent, the more time you spend with your kids the less time they will spend doing unproductive things.
2. Never be afraid to ask questions.
I have seen to many kids quit or get dejected because they were afraid to ask. When I was a freshman in high school I went out for football and I did not have any idea how to put my pads in and assemble the uniform. Instead of asking for help I just gave up.
3. Listen to your coach.
To us as parents it seems like a no brainer but coaches have a lot on their minds and if your child thinks the coach doesn’t care about them they are wrong. Coaches want your child to succeed and it’s up to you to remind your kids of that.
4. Be yourself, be happy and never think about failing. Every day, you either get better or you get worse. If your kids are the energetic fun type, make sure they take that to everything they do, within reason of course. No coach can do help the team when one kid is the class clown but kids need to be kids and that will make these activities fun. Even if your son or daughter is on a losing team make sure they know that every day they play, they are getting better, even if the team isn’t. Ask them how they did the first time they played a video game. I’ll bet they lost… a lot!
5. Old sayings are just that… old.
Don’t bore your kids with old platitudes. As a parent, you too need to be yourself. Kids are smart. They understand a lot. When you tell them winning isn’t everything, or, if Billy jumped in lake, would you, doesn’t mean much to them. Be real.
6. Take your sports attitude of “Achieving Excellence” into all aspects of your life.
It seems redundant but if they try as hard at other activities as they do with a video game, they will really enjoy themselves more.
7. There are no guarantees and nothing worth having comes easy.
If you show your child the success of ANY athlete or musician or anyone who’s achieved greatness you will see that they devoted their lives to being that good. The number experts use is 10,000 hours. If you do anything for 10,000 hours or more, you will probably be pretty darn good at it. It doesn’t mean your 6 year old has to commit to playing 10,000 of golf, because they need to try lots of stuff. But your message should be about commitment.
8. Good grades create more playing opportunities than good stats!
Remind your kids often that if they get bad grades it not only hurts them because they won’t get to play, it hurts the team. If your kid is one of the better players on that team, the rest of the group will be really bummed when your son or daughter doesn’t play.
9. Always make sure your priorities are set. Homework done?
Along with number seven, it goes without saying that doing an hour of homework after school gets it out of the way and now your kids can spend the next three to five hours of daylight enjoying themselves.
10. One of the best pieces of advice I give my athletes is that life is not always fair.
When your student fails, or loses because of something they think is out of their control they may be right. They hit a two run homerun but because the umpire missed a call, they still lost. Stuff happens and life isn’t always fair. Everyone is trying to do the right thing so your child needs to understand that hey, there is always another game tomorrow.
11. Play more than one sport, play for fun, and get plenty of rest.
The more things your child is involved with the better. Of course it means a lot more running around for team mom-n-dad but hey; it’s what we signed up for. The more your kids do, the more they will naturally gravitate toward what they are good at. And in turn will have more fun doing it. If they love golf and play every day, they will be exhausted, sleep well and can’t wait to get up the next morning to play again.
12. Learn to love practice.
Do you know how much time a professional football player actually spends PLAYING in games? An hour a week maybe? If they are the punter they maybe play six plays a game… per WEEK! So make sure and help your kids enjoy that actual practice. Hitting a home run in practice is a lot of fun. Building a model airplane in science club is fun even if the first time it talks flight in dive bombs into the playground. Enjoy Practice!
13. Put the team first.
Nothing will get your son or daughter more participation time than proving time and time again to the coach that the team comes first. The best example is a Major league Pitcher in the American League. He doesn’t get to bat because he knows the Designated Hitter is better at it than he is and that helps the team win. Then, the DH knows that the guy who replaces him is better at fielding than he is so he sits the bench and the team will succeed.
As adults and parents everything I’ve shared with you seems like pretty straightforward, common sense ideas, and they are. Spend time with our kids, share these ideas with them talk to them, ask them what they think and you will, find they are pretty good kids, have interesting things to say and are worth the time.
Remember, “We’re all in this together.”