How to “Manage” Your Player
For all intents and purposes, a parent assumes the role of “manager” when their child is involved in youth sporting events. And, like the manager of a professional athlete, there are both good and bad ways to undertake this job. The following article provides ideas to help parents assume this role to the best of their abilities while providing their player with a positive experience.
For most kids, sports are an organized activity. Urbanization and concerns about child safety leave fewer opportunities for kids to just go play. As youth sports become more organized, parents often feel an increasing need to get their money’s worth and may inadvertently over emphasize performance and skills development. These goals may not give kids the opportunity they need to have fun. However, with the right approach, organized sports also provide the opportunity for parents to help their child navigate the experience and gain the fun, skills and confidence to play longer.
Developing a love of the game, a good attitude and other mental aspects of sports can begin at any age. However, real physical development does not occur until after puberty when muscle and bone mass become sufficient for strength. In fact, the majority of top athletes did not get serious about their sport until after puberty. However, with most kids quitting before puberty, the majority never play long enough to reach anything close to their physical potential.
Unfortunately, some coaches and leagues look at the high drop out rates and assume that the best approach is one that minimizes parental involvement. As in school, kids benefit greatly from positive parental actions. While sports provide a framework for learning, it is up to the parents to make sure their child learns the needed physical skills and life lessons. Leagues focus on administration and coaches focus on teams. Only parents focus exclusively on their child’s needs and can put everything into perspective.
Editor’s Note: A special thank you to Sports Esteem for this article.
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