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How to Re-Engage Athletes

Things are starting to open up for kids to re-engage in sports. It is the best thing for them emotionally and physically. Some kids will be worried about contact in their sports, and many will need to work on mental skills. As a parent and a coach, it is difficult to sit back and bite your tongue. Still, continue to cheer for the team and cheer on your kid. Cheering positively in front of coaches, refs and players is a parent’s job. It is hard but it is our role.

When they get into the car after a game or practice, this is a place that needs to set up for dialogue and just some plain warm and fuzzies.

Stay away from statements like:

  1. Why didn’t you score more?
  2. Why weren’t you hustling?
  3. I can’t believe you lost?
  4. Your coach is an idiot.

None of these things will win your kid over, model respect or build sportsmanship. This will strain your relationship to the point where your child will quit their sport.

Instead say:

  1. “Losing is hard, I know. I have lost many times. I thought you made a good effort.”
  2. Would you like to talk about it? We can if you want.
  3. Give them space first. They are already self-doubting and comparing themselves to others. “Everyone wants to win.”
  4. Build trust and talk. Don’t always have a monologue; have a dialogue.

Parents can make this time in the car safe or “THE CAR RIDE FROM HELL”. We need to be their landing mat after their sports. If they need to talk about it they only will if they know you aren’t going to criticize. I am a volleyball person so I can’t comment on soccer at all at my son’s level.

Parents can, however, support the coach, the team, and their child by being a good role model, teaching resilience, problem solving and how to be a teammate. Keeping your kids talking and moving this summer after a tough year is a vital way for them to recover. For every one hour on a tech device kids need two hours of activity and socializing.

Larissa Mills, B. A., M.Ed. is the founder
of Iparentgen.com. She is a mother of three, a Parent Coach and a 4KIDS Sports & Educational Consultant.


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