How Parents Can Help Keep Youth Sports Fun!
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Youth sports at its very core represent fun. The whole idea around kids playing sports is to stay active, learn new skills and socialize. It can get complicated however, because youth sports can also introduce feelings of pressure, anxiousness, and sometimes hardships on the athlete and parents. So, how can parents help keep youth sports fun for their child (and themselves)?
TeamSnap has put together 7 ways parents can help keep sports fun for their child.
Number 1: Does your child want to play the sport?
It’s important to check in with your child to make sure they even want to be playing the sport you signed them up for. Ask your child before registration opens what sports they’d like to play this year? Open the conversation and let them be the driving force in the sports they participate it. Remind your child that a big part of youth sports is trying new things and not to feel any pressure about deciding which sport to specialize in just yet.
Number 2: Find ways outside of practice to play the sport.
Practices can be challenging. There may be a new coach, a wide range of skill-level and new players. One way to keep the sport fun is to not have the practice days as the only day your child is playing it. Kick the ball around outside or set up a nerf hoop in the kitchen. Find ways to take the pressure off of practice days and start implementing more free play throughout the week.
Number 3: Make meaningful friendships.
For young athletes, a huge factor in wanting to participate year after year are the friendships. Young athletes love to play sports with their friends. As a parent, do what you can to keep your child around people who make your kid happy and better. Host after-practice dinners and lean into the community part of youth sports. You never know, you may make a new adult-friend out of it too!
Number 4: Be supportive, not overbearing.
Youth sports are overly populated with parents on the sidelines screaming. Don’t be that parent this season! As much as you want your child to succeed and see the unlimited potential, make sure you are finding ways to show up for your child that won’t take away the fun of the game. At games, even if you want to cheer loud, make sure your child wants that. There are kids out there that love to see their parents on the sidelines, but there are also kids that would prefer to just play the game and not be bothered by a family crowd near the goal. Instead of just going with what you feel is best, check in with your child and see how they would like you to show up to games.
Number 5: Encourage fandom!
Sports = entertainment at the end of the day, so one way to keep youth sports fun for your athlete is to go to a game or stream a game online. It’s a great way for sports fandom to blossom and for you and your child to bond over a game. Also, children can learn a lot from watching sports, as can adults!
Number 6: Emphasis on learning, not winning.
Depending on the team, there could be a big emphasis on winning and losing. It’s especially important at the youth level to remind your child the importance of learning experiences. Most coaches would rather their athletes play well than play bad and lose, but regardless, for children it’s essential to remind them. After a tough game instead of focusing on the scoreboard, call out a few moments when your youth athlete was confident on the ball.
Number 7: Prepare, prepare, and prepare.
This mainly means, prepare your child for success by making sure snacks are packed, a good night’s sleep happened, and all the off-the-field operations are smooth. Youth athletes rely on proper fuel, sleep, and balance to perform their best. Parents can help keep their child loving a sport and enjoying it by taking care of things before practice and games.
Youth sports are supposed to help children build the foundation for fulfilling life. Parents can heavily impact a child’s love for sports.