Parents know the amazement and wonder of realizing the tiny little baby you used to rock to sleep each night, is now ready to tackle parts of the world on their own. The little hand that used to reach up to yours nonstop, is now ready to throw the first pitch. It’s a mental and physical whirlwind for everyone involved! In this day and age, it is becoming increasingly more important to mentally and physically prepare our kids for sports.
There are endless pieces of advice floating around out there on how to successfully parent a child athlete. However, many of these principles can be put into place long before they ever take the field.
Physical Readiness for Sports
Physical activity is important for everyone, no matter how old they are! Regular physical activity, whether it’s going on family walks, playing in the backyard, or throwing the ball around, is a great way to help kids prepare for youth sports.
Timing is also a key factor. According to Dr. Laura Purcell in the Canadian journal, Paediatrics & Child Health, “Sporting activities must be developmentally appropriate for the child. Enrolling children in sports that are beyond their developmental ability can lead to frustration and early dropout. Thirty-five percent of children who participate in organized sports drop out every year. By age 15, 75 percent of youth no longer play organized sports.”
By paying attention to your kids physical development and capabilities, you can help prepare them for a lifelong love of sports!
Purcell goes on to say, “It is not until they reach the age of six years that sufficient combinations of fundamental skills are attained to allow them to begin participating in organized sports.” Dr. Purcell firmly believes in focusing on developing fundamentals for sports instead of focusing on competition when children are under the age of 6. These fundamentals include running, throwing, tumbling, and catching.
It’s also important to make sure your child has a proper physical examination before entering the world of sports. A doctor of chiropractic, such as Dr. Dee at Healing Hands Chiropractic, located in Murfreesboro, TN, can help!
Dr. Dee can evaluate your child and their development, and identify any underlying issues or subluxations that may need to be corrected. Chiropractic for kids is proven to help with focus, development, immunity building, coordination, and more.
It is a great idea to incorporate chiropractic into your child’s routine before they enter the sports world! Chiropractic helps ensure their nervous system is functioning as it should, so they can not only perform their best, but also feel their best. This is why so many professional athletes utilize chiropractic care!
If you are about to enter into the world of youth sports with your family, contact Healing Hands Chiropractic today! Dr. Dee and her amazing staff can help! Reach us today at 615-203-3505!
Mental Readiness for Sports
We all know that sports are about far more than physical readiness. Sports are a huge mental game as well. We all want to raise classy athletes who respect other players and the game, and who are great examples and leaders for their teammates. Here are some great suggestions and strategies parents and coaches can use in order to raise young athletes who are well-mannered and successful, while loving the game!
1. Don’t overreact, or underreact. At the end of the game, it is just a game. Sports are supposed to be fun! However, it is still hard to accept a loss for most kids (and adults!). If you have a kid disappointed in the outcome of the game, focus on trying to find a learning experience from it or a positive amidst the loss. Don’t let your child sit and sulk, and certainly do not belittle them for losing! On the other end of the spectrum, it’s important to not underreact. The process of learning to play team sports is important. If your child is slacking off or goofing around during practice, isn’t hustling or listening to the coach, or mishandles something that is 100% within their control, do not let it slide. Set a precedent for respect and hard work.
2. Let your kid play multiple sports. Kids are more likely to get injured if they specialize in a specific sport early on. Letting your child try out and play multiple sports give them great social and athletic interactions, and helps them learn what sports they truly enjoy! Worried that by letting your child participate in soccer, dance, and hockey that you are sacrificing their future career in the NHL? Wrong. Studies actually show that 82 percent of top athletes from the four major sports in the United States played multiple sports!
3. Set an example. If you want your kids to love sports and exercise, guess what you need to do? Love sports and exercise. Overweight parents are more likely to have overweight kids. Kids model their parents behavior. This includes their parents work ethic, attention to detail, punctuality, exercise and eating habits, responses to losing, reactions to a bad call, and more. You’ve got a set of little eyes watching you at all times. What will they see?
4. Teach your child how to properly shake hands and hold eye contact. Coaches truly do pay attention to how a kid reacts and treats other kids. A nice firm handshake and the ability to maintain eye contact during conversation is not only a great skill in sports, but also in life. These are two of the little things you can teach your child now, that they will use throughout their entire life.
5. Surround your kids with unconditionally positive people. Everyone responds better and more favorably to people who are positive, from adults to kids. Kids are easily influenced. It is so important to let them be influenced by positivity for as long as you can. You want your kid being coached by positive people who know their stuff. Find adults who will speak truth and wisdom and encouragement into your kid’s life, and then thank them like crazy when they do!