- Make sure your
children know that win or lose, scared or heroic, you love them, appreciate their efforts
and are not disappointed in them. This will allow them to do their best without fear of
failure. Be the person in their life they can look to for constant positive reinforcement.
- Try your best to be
completely honest about your childs athletic ability, competitive attitude,
sportsmanship and actual skill level.
- Be helpful but
dont coach them. Its tough not to, but it is a lot tougher for the child to be
flooded with advice and critical instruction.
- Teach them to enjoy
the thrill of competition, to be out there trying, to be working to improve
their skills and attitudes. Help them develop the feeling for competing, for trying hard,
for having fun.
- Try not to relive
your athletic life through your child in a way that creates pressure. You were frightened,
backed off at times and were not always heroic. Athletic children need their parents, so
do not withdraw. There is a thinking, feeling, sensitive, free spirit in that uniform who
needs a lot of understanding, especially when their world turns bad. If they are
comfortable with you win or lose, then they are on their way to maximum enjoyment.
- Dont compete
with the coach. If your child is receiving mixed messages from two different authority
figures, he or she will likely become disenchanted.
- Dont compare
the skill, courage or attitude of your child with other members of the team.
- Get to know the
coach(es). Then you can be assured that his or her philosophy, attitudes, ethics and
knowledge are such that you are happy to have your child under his or her leadership.
- Always remember
that children tend to exaggerate, both when praised and when criticized. Temper your
reaction and investigate before overreacting.
- Make a point of
understanding courage and the fact that it is relative. Some of us climb mountains and are
afraid to fly. Some of us will fly but turn to jelly if a bee approaches. Everyone is
frightened in certain areas. Explain that courage is not the absence of fear, but a means
of doing something in spite of fear and discomfort.
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