Why are youth sports important?
All kids should play as many sports as possible when they are young, correct? Well, that is not always the case. It is so important for kids to play sports as it will help them grow, learn how to push themselves, learn how to deal with failure and learn how to make decisions on their own. Take a step back and let your kid take control of what sports they choose to play. At Garage Strength, we often see an athlete with great potential, but the love for the sport isn't there- usually because it is pushed on them by their parents. We also see kids who are talented, but can't focus on the technique and skill of sport because they are forced to play more than one.
Living Through your Kids
This is quite possibly the most common situation I see when dealing with kids and sports. A lot of times parents growing up were not talented at a certain sport, but always had dreams of being good. From my time training and working at Garage Strength, I have been surrounded by many parents that express bigger goals for athletics than their own kids. They have a kid, and suddenly understand why they never excelled at the sport. The parent realizes they can push their kid into training and practice, so their child can have a better chance at success than they did, but it is so much more complicated than just that.
Parents get consumed in the sports life of their kid. Obviously be there for their games and take them to practice, but don't try to make it about you. Don’t love it more than they do. If your kid wants to be great, let them. If they don't want to be great, let them. It will all workout, I promise! Here is my biggest piece of advice for parents out there: Let your kids decide if they want to be great. If they ask to go to an extra practice, take them. If they ask for your help, help them. Think about it as a learning experience and an opportunity for your kid to grow.
Failing isn't just relevant in sports, it's relevant in life. No matter what you do or how successful you are, you have failed at something. Failure at a young age should be looked at as a positive lesson rather than a negative experience. When your kids are in situations where they fail, or the outcome wasn't what they expected they start to recognize how to improve, and how to become better to change that outcome. Failing will teach you how to work harder, and it will teach you how to be successful. If your kids fail, have them analyze what happened, what they did leading up to that event and what things they can change for next time. This will teach them that they are in control of their success and failure. Parents will say, “my kid is too small to play football I don't want him to get hurt.” This is understandable, but if your kid realizes he is too small for football and changes his sport, or works to get bigger and stronger it is a positive thing.
Parents need to understand failure as well. It's not the end of the world when your kid loses a tee ball game, but if you show your emotions and treat it as though it's the end of the world your kid will be negatively impacted by that. Individuals need to fail to grow, so let it happen at a young age!
Playing too Many Sports
No one will ever be Bo Jackson, so stop trying. No, but seriously when is 3 sports too much for a kid? The 3 sport rule: 3 sports is okay up until 7th grade. In most states, the 7th grade is the start of middle school. This is when things start to get a little more competitive and more focus has to be taken on sports. At this time I would transition to only playing 2 sports. Once 9th grade (freshman year) rolls around I would suggest going to 1 sport. If your kid wants to go to the NFL it will be very hard for them to do that if they don't devote all their time to football. Again, these are specific cases where that individual wants to continue their athletic career past high school. If your kid is fine with being apart of a team, and has no intention on being a professional, then let them do as much as they want. It is nearly impossible for your kid to be a stand out in every single sport. If they want to be the best they can be, help them pick one and go after it.
Understanding these 3 things will help with how you deal with your kids and their athletic careers. Don’t have them play too many sports, teach them to fail and let your kid be as good as they want to be. This will help create a strong, independent, successful individual!
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