Many professional athletes trace their success stories back to their formative years and having parents who encouraged them to pursue sports instead of hindering their growth by telling them to focus solely on academic work.
There is simply no substitute for having parents who are fully supportive of one’s athletic abilities, and as a mom, you surely don’t want to be the first person to stand in the way of your child’s full athletic potential.
However, it’s not always easy to raise young athletes, especially if you aren’t one yourself. There are many aspects to that athletic culture and lifestyle you probably won’t ever understand, and it won’t be easy to watch your little one get impossibly tired physically, mentally, and emotionally all because of their love for sports.
But don’t you worry. In this article, we’ll give you five tips on how to be the best and most supportive mom you can be to your young athlete, and how you can ensure that your little one will reap all the benefits of engaging in sports from a young age:
1. Enroll them in sports clinics
If you haven’t done this yet, find a good sports program to enroll your kid in. He/she might be showing great potential and interest in being a young athlete, but only a structured training system can help them unleash their full potential.
Some schools also have better sports programs than others, so you might want to sit the whole family down for a discussion on whether transferring schools might be a great idea to give your young athlete better chances of honing his/her skills.
2. Speak with their coach
Now, if your kid is already in a sports clinic or a school with a great training program, what you have to do is consult with his/her coach on how best you can complement the training your kid is getting from school.
The coach would definitely know if there’s a special diet your kid needs, or if there are some offsite exercises you can help supervise to further develop your child’s skills. Some parents develop a rather competitive relationship with their children’s athletic mentors on account of the high regard young athletes have for their coaches and the long hours they spend together, but you have to overcome that fast.
It would definitely be better for your young athlete if you and their coach could work together without any air of animosity, which could end up affecting your child’s performance negatively.
3. Watch their games
Sometimes, all your son/daughter needs to feel that you are supportive of their athletic endeavor is to see you out there on the bleachers, cheering for them. When they win, they need you there to celebrate with them. When they lose, they need you there to provide comfort and reassurance that one bad game doesn’t mean they’re bad athletes.
In any case, keep in mind that it feels really terrible for child athletes to have no one in the bleachers rooting for them, so try to make time for every single game.
4. Invest in good gear
The lack of quality sportswear and accessories would never stop a dedicated athlete from achieving great feats, but these things really do help, both in optimizing your young athlete’s performance and in keeping their morale high. You know that extra boost of confidence — the extra spring in your step — when you have new clothes or even just a new piece of jewelry?
That’s the same way your child feels when sporting new sports accessories like a new fitness band or a new headband, perhaps. If these things are within budget, don’t spare the expense.
5. Lay off the pressure
Finally, you’ve got to avoid pressuring your young athlete at any cost. This is definitely the simplest item on this list, but the one most difficult to keep. See, it’s all about finding balance. You’ve got to be excited for your kid’s achievements without making it appear like you care too much about them winning, and that you take their losses hard. Doing this would pressure them into thinking that they need to win all the time in order to gain your approval.
You have to reassure them that you’re proud of them for playing and for constantly working to improve their game, whether or not they rack up wins or losses.
While sports does have wonderful benefits and lessons to teach your young one, you still need to be there to guide them, support them, and provide what they need along the way to make sure the lessons stick with them as they grow up to become the young athletes they were always born to become.