Soccer Parents: 5 Simple Questions

by Robin Russell on January 10, 2010 · 0 comments

Pause for a Minute: Knowing me – Knowing you

5 Simple Questions

Soccer Parents on sidelineParents: You are incredibly important to the sustained development of Youth Sports, spending an estimated $5billion per year on organized youth sports coaching, even during a recession!

Your children are obviously signed up and playing sports. You want your children to get the most from their sports. They probably play more than one sport.  Have you thought why they like one sport more than another or how to avoid them giving up sports altogether?

How do you think you can provide the best assistance?

Question # 1: Have you asked your children- ‘Why do THEY like to play sports?

‘ Winning not in the top 5 reasons’ says   Michael A. Clark Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, Michigan State University –after a national survey of 10-18 year olds

Research shows that the reasons most children start and continue to play sports are;

  • It’s Fun to play
  • To make Friends and spend time with them
  • To learn  Skills which enhances their self – esteem

Most parents would probably agree but why not check and ask your children why that like the particular sports they play

Question #2: Have you asked yourself – ‘Why do YOU want them to continue playing ‘?

Research shows that to this question parents would answer that they would want their children to have fun, make friends and learn skills but also because of the following additional reasons:

  • It’s safe
  • To continue to be socially active
  • To learn life lessons: – dedication.commitment, discipline, teamwork etc.
  • To foster a healthy lifestyle

(http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1145/is_12_37/ai_96620906/ )

Question # 3: So why do kids QUIT youth sports?

A Study of US youngsters found that 70% of participants who sign up for sports quit by the time they are 13 years of age

(http://students.ithaca.edu/~skenney1/article4.html )

Give this some thought as you think about the sports you played as a kid yourself.

  • At some stage you stopped playing them – why did you stop?
  • If you have recently started to take up a sport or an activity – why?
  • Have your children stopped playing one sport in favor of another – if so why?

Question # 4: How do you think you can provide the best assistance?

  • Read the policy statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics, regarding

(http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;107/6/1459)

  • Accept that as a parent your most important role is to select your child’s sport program and check the coach. Parents have played a critical role in developing Youth Sports and they continue to raise standards by demanding the best for their children
  • Keep in touch with kids to make sure it’s your children who are driving the experience –not you or their coach. Some tell tale signs are :

-       Does their sport still enthuse and excite them? Do they talk to you about their sport when they see ii on TV or read about it?

-       Do they initiate discussion about  their own performance, their practices and their competition

-       Do they organise at least some of their sports equipment by themselves ready for practice and competition

-       Are they mostly ready on time? (Remember the Disneyland comparison: they don’t need to be dragged to there!)

-        What happens when their coach’s name is mentioned in conversation? (Smile? Scowl? No reaction?)

-        In their own leisure time do they still practice their sport?

-       How is their sport impacting on their sleep, eating, and/or study habits? There is after all a strong, positive correlation between sports  participation and educational performance (http://www.la84foundation.org/9arr/ResearchReports/HighSchoolSportsParticipation.pdf )

Question #5: What to look for in a good youth sports program?

In future we will look at the following issues:

-       How much is too much sport?

-       What are the risks of specialization?

-       Managing commitments for the youth sports family

-       Some signposts to identify potentially talented elite  young performers

Click here for more info and access to the Soccer Parent Courses

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