Mom’s Guide to Youth Sports

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Imagine your child’s heart racing, his brightly colored uniform streaking past as he scores a goal, or picture your daughter’s ponytail dancing as she makes a basket and smiles brightly. If handled properly, the world of youth sports can be an exciting and beneficial outlet for children. Here are five things every mom should know about youth sports:

Your child needs your support, win or lose.

Both winning and losing are parts of youth sports, so how parents respond no matter the outcome is important. In “Psychology Today,” Doctors Frank Smoll and Ronald Smith emphasize the need for participants to have fun in their sport ( Your text to link…). With some encouraging words, you can lift the spirits of a team that has lost; by focusing on strengths, you will increase the likelihood that your youngster will remember the fun parts.

Your child needs you to be a good example of sportsmanship.

When excitement levels are high, tempers and outbursts can be increased among both players and spectators. Emily Cohen of “The Huffington Post” stresses that rather than berating officials because of their calls or making fun of other players, you can set a positive example for your child to follow (Your text to link…). Imagine how much easier it will be for your child to control his or her emotions and remain respectful if you are doing the same.

Your child’s interests may change.

Since children are constantly developing their likes and dislikes, don’t be surprised or frustrated if your child’s interest in a sport diminishes. Although ensuring your child follow through on commitments, once the current season is over, it’s okay to let the sport go. Remember, the main focus of youth sports is fun, and if your child shows little interest in it, the level of fun decreases, too. Forcing your child into a sport in which they are uninterested will only be miserable for everyone involved.

Your child’s participation in sports is a commitment for your whole family.

Although one of your children may pick youth sports, his or her decision affects the whole family. For example, you and your spouse may need to take turns to make practices on times; siblings may miss spending free time at home as they attend events. Do your research ahead of time to make sure how often your child will be required to practice, how long each practice and game lasts, and the duration of the season.

Your child is learning valuable skills.

Although getting started in youth sports may seem daunting, the work it requires is worth it. Not only will your child be staying active and gaining physical skills, he or she will also be gaining other valuable assets: friendships, the ability to work with others toward a common goal, problem-solving skills, a sense of community, and the gift of humbleness in winning with class and losing with confidence.

With a clear focus and strong commitment, any family can feel successful in the world of youth sports. By having fun and enjoying it as a family, you can make many lasting memories.

Jessica Kane is a writer for SteelLocker Sports. A leading provider of sporting goods and training programs for coaches, players, parents and institutions with a primary focus on youth sports.

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