My goal each month is to provide the Weston community with impactful information about youth sports. This month I would like to share with you several checklists to review before becoming the parent of a young athlete. As I have touched on many times in the past, most parents unknowingly hinder their child’s progress through their own actions. I would like to credit Brooke de Lench from MomsTEAM.com for helping me create this month’s blog. This information was too good not to share. Thanks Brooke! Please read on…
11 Ways To Be a Successful Youth Sports Parent
- Make sure your children know that – win or lose – you love them and are not disappointed with their performance.
- Be realistic about your child’s physical ability.
- Help your child set realistic goals.
- Emphasize improved performance, not winning.
- Positively reinforce improved skills.
- Don’t relive your own athletic past through your child.
- Provide a safe environment for training and competition. This includes proper training methods and use of equipment.
- Control your own emotions at games and events. Don’t yell at other players, coaches, or officials.
- Be a cheerleader for your child and the other children on the team.
- Respect your child’s coaches. Communicate openly with them. If you disagree with their approach, discuss it with them.
- Be a positive role model. Enjoy sports yourself. Set your own goals. Live a healthy lifestyle
3 Things To Consider When Choosing a Program
- Trust your intuition. You know your child better than anyone else. It’s okay to go with what your instincts tell you are in the best interests of your child.
- Consider your child’s age, skills, and maturity level. Most children aren’t ready to participate in organized sports until they are at least 3 or 4 years old. Experts recommend that contact sports wait until middle school. Your child is mature enough to play a team sport if she has a long enough attention span and enough self-discipline to learn from group instruction. The last thing you want is your child to have a bad first impression of sports because you started your child too young.
- Get in touch with your feelings. Watching a young child play sports will trigger your natural instinct to protect and nurture. If you think you would probably rush on to the field if your child was injured in a game, you may not be ready to handle the stress of your child’s participation.
6 Things To Consider When Picking a Sport
- Consider your child’s interests, temperament and level of commitment. Ask him what sport he wants to play. Look for clues about the sport he might like in how he spends his free time (throwing = baseball; kicking a ball = soccer, hanging from a jungle gym or tree = gymnastics, playing alone = individual sport, playing with friends = team sport).
- Think outside the box: There are many, many different sports your child could play besides soccer, baseball and basketball. Consider family-focused activities, like bike riding, hiking, kayaking, swimming or golf that can help a child stay fit while having fun and have the added benefit of giving the whole family an activity to enjoy together. Don’t automatically say no to a boy who expresses an interest in dance or yoga, or a girl who wants to play football or wrestle.
- Consider your child’s size. If your child is small for his age, consider sports that emphasize quickness, agility and balance, rather than strength, like gymnastics, soccer, or endurance sports, like distance running and swimming.
- Check out the program. Look for one that emphasizes having fun, skill development, equal playing time and fair play, and that keeps winning, losing and competition in perspective. Talk to the coaches to make sure their philosophy is the same is yours. Attend a game. You should hear kids having fun, not yelling by coaches and parents.
- Consider the cost. When choosing a sport consider the length of the season and also consider the weekly experience for the entire family.
- Set realistic expectations. Your goals for your child should be to stay or become physically fit, have fun, make new friends, develop skills and start down the road to a lifetime of physical activity. You role is to love your children, protect them from harm and help them realize their dreams, not to realize your dreams.
About Bob Fournier
Bob, who has been around youth athletics his entire life as a player and coach, is the Program Director for i9 Sports in the Weston, Florida area. i9 Sports was founded on the simple idea that kids play sports to have fun. It doesn’t accept that winning and the final score should be more important than the joy of the game. Its mission is to help kids succeed in life through sports. In i9 Sports programs, the key measure of success is whether each child walks away with a smile. When a child joins a team, i9 Sports wants them to find: FUN: Every child deserves to have a great time. INCLUSIVITY: No try-outs. Every child plays. SAFETY: Trained officials at every game. Safe play. GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP: Good character lasts a lifetime. HEALTHY COMPETITION: i9 Sports believes that every child is a winner and should have a chance to shine. i9 Sports understands that parents have busy schedules and require a program that is well-organized and convenient.