Monday, November 24, 2014

Is Your Young Athlete Being Pushed Too Far?

A lot of parents take youth sports very seriously, and more often than not, their children follow their lead. It’s understandable to want the young athlete in your life to be a success, but there does come a point where you’ve pushed your child too far. Once a sport stops to be fun or becomes all about
winning, instead of having a good time, it’s a good idea to step back and reevaluate the attitudes and values, good or bad, that you are undoubtedly passing onto your child. If you don’t, you run a high risk of having your youngster burn out early on and of just plain sucking all the joy out of the sport. Be watchful of the following signs that you’re pushing the little athlete in your life to the breaking point:

Your Child Has No Interests Outside of Sports
It’s important for kids to be kids. They need to play silly games with other kids. They need to play with their toys. They need to goof off and eat junk food every once in a while. Simply put, they need to have fun. If your child doesn’t get to have any fun outside of sports, then something is wrong. Ideally, children should have diverse interests. They should have friends both in and out of the sports world, and they shouldn’t be following such strict diets or such regimented practice schedules that they don’t have time to enjoy their childhoods. Remember, your little one is only little once, and if he or she isn’t getting to enjoy that, then you’re pushing way too hard.

Your Child is Always Tired
Kids, especially active kids, get worn out pretty easily. However, those “worn out” periods should be supplemented by nice bursts of wholehearted energy and activity. If you find that your child is tired more often than not, then you may just be working him or her too hard. It’s good for kids to be active, but if you’re forcing them to practice outside of regular practice sessions and/or to constantly work with a private coach, you’re more than likely going overboard. Remember, kids need to be awake and alert for school, learning, and just life in general. Don’t drain all of their limited energy on sports.

Your Child is a Sore Loser
Losing is a part of being an athlete. And, while nobody likes to lose, an occasional loss shouldn’t be some devastating, life-altering event. If your child gets so upset over a loss that he acts out of character, cries profusely, or talks and rants about it for days, that’s a pretty good indication that he or she is taking the game way too seriously and placing too much emphasis on winning. It’s also a pretty good indicator that you or some other adult in the child’s life has made winning seem incredibly vital. Taking losses too hard is a sign that it’s time to reevaluate why your athlete is playing and what he or she is getting out of the sport.

It’s not easy being a parent, and it’s especially  not easy being a “sports parent.” However,  by always putting your child first and carefully watching for and guarding against the signs of burnout and stress, you can ensure that your child has a good, positive experience with sports, one that will ultimately help him or her to be a better, more well-rounded individual.

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