Being the parent of a talented young footballer or a skilled tennis player is no easy task, requiring both commitment and compassion. So, just how should parents looking to support their promising children when it comes to sporting development?
Many youngsters dream of making it to the very top of the sporting world, however commitment is required from all parties, not just the individual themselves. There are a number of expenses involved, with parents often having to travel across the country for fixtures and events, while the latest equipment is often also seen as a necessity today. Meanwhile, parents must also ensure that their children remain grounded and stay committed to other areas of their life, including studying and socialising.
Meanwhile, some parents can often become too embroiled in what their child has achieved, failing to understand that they are pushing them too hard in the process. With around 80% of children aged between 5-15 in the UK having participated in competitive sport in the last 12 months, it comes as little surprise that a significant number will be categorised as having the potential to reach a higher level. So, for parents who find themselves guiding such individuals, here is what you must keep in mind.
Parents must accept that sport will become a major part of their life, which can have a major effect in other areas too. Parents will also need to ensure that they do not prioritise the needs of one child over another, with the schedule of a talented young athlete potentially effecting how many other activities can be completed.
It is important that parents give their children the chance to take part in a range of sports and activities, before they choose to eventually specialise in one. This will help them to develop fundamental skills quicker than they would do otherwise, while this will also help to fend off any injuries that are associated with repetition and burnout.
As well as this, parents will do well to remember that they are not a coach, with those who fail to do so often creating confusion. Youngsters will need to find a competent coach in order to enhance their development, however parents must be sure that they stay on the right side of the line when it comes to offering advice, with their most important role surrounding support and advice in other areas of life.
Ultimately, children must be the ones who are pushing for increased involvement in sport, with some parents often looking to relive their own unsuccessful dreams through their kids. “Vicarious Success Syndrome” is the name for this, something in which many will have come across in their own journeys. So, kids must be given the option to continue their development or not, rather than parents deciding. Checking that they are still having fun along the way is also key!
Cutting costs will also become important for those with talented young athletes, with expenses quickly adding up, whether it be surrounding transport, equipment or coaching. This can be achieved by working alongside other parents, volunteering with the club involved or fundraising.
Finally, it is also key that parents continuously ask questions, with many quickly becoming out of their depth if they do not. Asking questions will also allow parents to understand the best course of action for their child, while researching how others have dealt with being in such a situation is also useful.
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