Joining a sports team is an excellent way for your child to stay active, make friends, and learn valuable life lessons in a safe environment. Team sports can also take up a lot of time and energy for the player and the whole family. Whether you were into sports as a kid or not, it’s essential to learn how to support your young athlete. Here are some things to consider for the upcoming game seasons.
Set Expectations Early
Some parents want their kids to have casual hobbies or activities after school and are content with a more relaxed league. Others are ready to encourage their kids to pursue more competitive avenues, complete with off-season training sessions, camps, and travel leagues. Budget and lifestyle demands can factor heavily into this decision, but you should also take your child’s feelings into account. Don’t push anyone into playing in a more difficult league if it won’t be fun for them, and be realistic about your ability to fund a more intense training schedule if they’re talking about larger goals. Setting these expectations early can prevent disappointment later on.
If your athlete shows serious dedication to their sport, it’s important to be encouraging, but it’s also important to encourage a balance between their sport and other areas of life. They should understand that a heavy training schedule might mean they miss a lot of other important life events. They might spend their birthday at a game, or miss out on other hobbies and clubs because their schedule is too demanding. They might miss events that are important to other family members too, and being unable to form those lasting memories can have a long-lasting effect. If your kid is working too hard, see where you can cut back to make more room for other fun things in life. Booking a vacation like one of the fun Portugal cruises can be a relaxing break for the whole family.
One of the simplest things anyone can do to support a young athlete is to simply show up. Whether you go to a practice or a game, it’s important for kids to see their supporters acknowledging their hard work and progress. You don’t necessarily have to be there for every practice and game, but being there when you can makes a world of difference for kids needing support.
Model Positive Behaviors
Young athletes soak up everything happening around them, and this includes the interactions between adults. If you think a referee or coach is behaving badly, you probably shouldn’t be screaming at them from the stands. Pulling them aside, sending an email, or waiting until the next practice are all better strategies for communicating your frustrations. You’re also more likely to be thinking clearly if you have some time to calm down and reflect. If your child loses, how you react is crucial. Model good behavior when interacting with opponents and point out how well your child performed. Losing may not be fun, but playing the sport should be, and your child will be looking to you for comfort and guidance once the game is concluded.
The last thing you want is for your child to be hurt while playing, which is why regular rest is so important. Growing bodies can be particularly susceptible to injuries, and more severe injuries can impact their lives for years to come. If an injury is bad enough, it can keep them from playing permanently. Make sure your child is using proper safety gear and following any safety rules. After a practice or training session, make sure they’re getting the proper recovery time. Things like ice packs and heating pads will come in handy. If their training schedule is more rigorous, keep their doctor in the loop so they can suggest other recovery methods.
Supporting your young athlete can be a rewarding experience for both of you. With your regular encouragement, your child is more likely to enjoy their sport and have a positive association with healthy habits well into adulthood.