Being a parent is a tough gig at the best of times. How we support and guide our children through different obstacles and paths shapes them up as human beings and sets them up for their future.
This especially runs true when your child becomes interested in sports and requires support from a parent to aid their sporting development. Many everyday parenting aspects are transferable when you become involved in their sporting interest. Not to mention the priceless time spent and bonding throughout.
Here are some tips to help parents transition in to a Sports Parent.
An obvious tip, and is relevant across the entire spectrum of parenting, but when it comes to sport it is vital we do not go too hard on them too soon. This may have a negative effect on their initial impressions on a brand-new sport and may put them off putting in 100% effort and attention. Give them space and time to try the sport in their own way – offering minimal input. This will allow them to base their own opinion on the sport without any prejudice from yourself.
Push Them When Needed
Similarly, for kids to develop according to their ability, it is a good idea to encourage them on to the next level. Maybe you see them resting on their laurels and you feel they need more. Speak to their coach, speak to your child and offer ideas to improve and to fulfil their potential.
Know when to criticize and encourage
Building resilience within a child and teenager is a vital life-skill to develop. It boosts their ability to manage adversity and hardship. This runs true in sports participation. Kids need to expect criticism. It is an important building block in improving as a sports person and a human being. It is critical we as parents can appreciate when constructive criticism is necessary, when it can wait and how to deliver it. Maybe they have just played a bad game and have come off the field of play in a stinking mood.
Their coach may have criticised the team. This may be a good time for us as sports parents to focus on the positives from the game. Maybe have a reflective chat when the adrenaline has worn off. Encouragement comes in many forms – it can be from the sideline of the game; it can be a simple chat in between games informing them of their ability. Encouragement boosts confidence and belief. Criticism creates an ability to adjust and reflect on self-performance.
Practice with them
Practice makes perfect after all. You often hear about elite sports people staying for hours after training in order to practice specific drills in order to become a master. All practice is good practice and can do no harm. If you have a few spare hours during the week – take them to a local field and practice with them. Focus on both weaknesses and strengths. If you are not an expert brush up yourself by watching instructional videos on that sport ahead of time. This also does wonders for bonding.
Let them try different sports
It may take many years and numerous attempts to find their real niche. It may be a sport you were not expecting them to enjoy. This is ok. It is their life. If you had your eyes set on them playing Football and they want to try Golf, let them. This ability to try different sports, may also set them up better for the real world to become open-minded in their everyday outlook.