The following tips will help develop your child’s passion for sports and bring out his or her best natural athletic abilities. Your child is never too young to enjoy the excitement and fulfillment of excelling in sports and dreams of becoming a major league baseball player or NFL superstar.
Maximize children’s potential
Maximize your children’s potential by raising them to be healthy, happy, and independent. Expose them not only to their favorite sports but to music, art, nature, and community. Well rounded children are better able to develop natural talents than children who are suppressed and unaware of what life has to offer. Do as many different activities with your children as possible, ensuring an even balance between sports and life’s journey.
Support children’s sports activities
Show your children that you care about their interest in sports. Don’t push them into a sport they don’t enjoy just because it is your favorite. Tom Brady Sr., the father of the New England Patriot’s three time Super Bowl winning quarterback said, “It’s not my place to limit my child or detract from his dreams. The rough world will do that. You don’t limit their horizons because of your horizons. We got our chance. Now they get their chance.” Children with natural athletic abilities know which sport they are passionate about and will perform accordingly.
Attend your children’s games and drive them to practices willingly. Many children feel they are burdening their parents by asking for rides to practices, games, and team events. Put on a happy face and let your children feel that you care about their sports activities.
Participate in team activities, offering a helping hand with coaching, fund raisers, bake sales, or working the snack bar during games.
Build children’s self-confidence
One of the most important aspects of raising star athletes is building their confidence. Self-confidence helps children overcome failures they may face during sports games and practices. It also helps children accept constructive criticism from coaches, enabling them to improve upon their natural athletic talents.
Praising your children for their successes is a huge step in developing self-confidence. When they make a good play during a baseball game or score a touchdown at football for example, let them know how proud you are of them. Make them feel as if they are already major league sports stars.
Never insult or belittle your children’s performances but offer positive feedback about a good play they made or how they offered help to a teammate. There is no need to praise their mediocre efforts but treat them with respect and kindness even if you are frustrated at their mistakes.
Stress the importance of schoolwork
Even if children show athletic talent above and beyond any of their peers, don’t allow them to feel their sport is the only thing of importance in their lives. Instill in your children that education is as important as any sport they play.
Excelling at sports goes hand-in-hand with excelling in school. A good education builds leadership qualities in children which carry over into their sport’s careers. Don’t accept mediocre performance in schoolwork just because your children are successful in sports.
Teach your children that being a team leader means being able to make decisions based on intelligence and independent thinking. These traits are developed from education and this should be your children’s first priority, above any sports. Education leads to success in all walks of life.
Allow children to fail
One of the hardest things for parents to do is allow their children to fail. Parents want to jump in and help their children, easing their pain. Children learn from failure, especially in sports. They develop the courage to go on and try again until they have mastered their failures and turned them into successes. This teaches children perseverance and problem solving skills. Remember, your role is to support your children’s athletic endeavors but not solve their every problem.
Boston Parents: “Raising a Gifted Child”, April, 2010.
Notable Biographies: “Tom Brady”
Joe Mannion, “Raising Healthy Child Athletes: the “Good Enough” Coach and Parent”