Some kids play sport for fun while others show particular skill and pursue their sport well into their 20s and 30s or until their bodies say, 'enough already!' Whatever we pursue to excellence, there are going to be triumphs and tears, successes and failures. It is a huge learning curve for kids to be able to pick themselves up, shake off the disappointment and try again, but harder. It is imperative that parents support their kids positively through these up and downs. We will all fail many times in our lives and it takes strength and maturity to be able to overcome shame and frustration, and keep trying till we reach our goal.
One of the key factors in helping kids reach their goals is the role parents play in their early years.
It is important to:
- Recognize the potential in our kids and nurture and support them throughout.
- Let our kids pursue their sporting dream, not yours.
- Gently steer them towards something else when what they are pursuing is not their forte.
These are some words wisely spoken by Lipscomb University TN Athletic Director, Philip Hutcheson on guidelines for parents who watch their kids play sport. (Posted on 2/21/14 in an elementary school's note to parents).
1. At any sporting event there are 4 roles. Fan, player, coach and official. You can ONLY BE ONE.
2. The most dreaded part of a team's loss for your child is the ride home.
3. Never give your child pointers immediately following the game.
4. Don't tell you child they played well if they didn't. They know you are not being truthful.
5. 75% of children playing sport quit by the time they are 13 years' old because it's no longer fun.
6. The most important six words you can say to your child - win or lose -
"I LOVE TO WATCH YOU PLAY!"
Written by Sally Burgess