Sports Parenting is an art, and for each and every child and family, there are a variety of parenting styles, methods and ideas that can all lead to the outcome of a positive sports experience, and the creation of a life long athlete. Most of us rely upon our own athletic experiences to guide us with our own kids. At times this may work great, yet at other times our children may think and act so differently then we did we can get frustrated, and be flying blind as we guide them through their own sports experience. We may have been (or still are) high achieving athletes ourselves, yet our kids may not respond the way we did to athletics. Perhaps we did not have much of an athletic career ourselves, and/or do not have find sports memories from our youth. What then? Whom do we rely on to teach us how to make our kids experiences better ones then ours? Being the parent of a young athlete is not easy, but there is hope, as long as we are not afraid to look for some guidance.
One important thing to remember is that your kids are not you! Just because hard work or commitment was a part of your psyche does not mean that your child will feel the same way. Just because athletics came easy to you, does not mean that sports will be easy for your child. Your kids may have to be taught to run, jump, and skip, to throw and catch, to hit or kick. Physical literacy does not necessarily come naturally, yet it must be learned. If your 5 year old was struggling to learn to read, you would not say “Forget about it, he cannot read, lets try something else.” You would help him learn, because reading is a crucial component of a well rounded adult, and is a required skill for getting through life.
We need to start thing about basic athletic skills in the same way; if they do not come naturally, then they must be taught. Far too many young kids adopt an attitude of “I am not a good athlete” at a very young age, because simple sport skills do not come naturally or quickly to them. Too many parents then direct their kids away from sports, because ‘they are just not that athletic.” Baloney! It is your job to teach them, just as you would teach them to read! Sure, they may never win the Olympic 100 meters, but who cares. They at least can think to themselves as someone who is an athlete, and gain all the benefits that youth sports has to offer.
So what do you say? Let’s keep all the kids in sports, by teaching Physical Literacy and basic sports skills to our kids who don’t always ‘get it’ by themselves!