CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) - Getting your kids geared up for fall sports can sometimes be difficult, especially after spending the summer lying around. So what is the best way to make sure that they are ready to hit the fields again? Dr. Kathleen Martin, a sport psychologist and wellness consultant and Director of Institutional Research and Special Projects at Bay Path College, joined us in Studio 1A with more.
Tips for Preparing Your Children for Fall Sports
Keep it ENJOYABLE.
Whatever activity or sport your athlete participates in, it should be one that he or she enjoys. Notice I didn't say fun! There will be aspects of practices and competitions that are anything but fun; but, are important and necessary. At a minimum, your athlete should have a fundamental enjoyment of the activity. That enjoyment will encourage persistence in the activity.
Keep it POSITIVE AND PRODUCTIVE.
Young athletes get mixed messages from adults. They are told to have fun; but, they are aware of how the adults around them react when they don't win. We need to help our athletes reconcile those two things. Winning all the time is unrealistic and a focus on winning is unproductive. There is good in every outing.
Keep it REALISTIC.
Youth sports are as much about socialization as they are about skill development and performance. Your athletes are learning the skills of their sports and they are learning how to interact with others in a competitive setting. Keep an eye on your athlete's attitude as much as their performance. Are they being a good team member?
Keep it RESPECTFUL.
This should go without saying; but, there have been publicized examples of bad behavior by parents and athletes that it needs to be reinforced. We need our parents and our athletes to stay grounded. In many cases, coaches and referees are volunteers. Even if they aren't, there is a baseline respect that is inviolable. Mistakes will be made, spectators won't agree with calls or coaching decisions; but, it never appropriate to turn to physical or verbal abuse. Maintain self-control and maintain boundaries. Let the coaches coach and the officials officiate.
Keep it ABOUT THEM.
Your athlete will want - and will benefit from - your interest in their sport. Know the rules, attend games, make it a topic of conversation; but, know that your athlete will not have the same experience in sport that you did - or didn't. They need to make it their own. They may not want to play the sport you played. They may not want to play at all. Remember that they have the right to NOT participate, too.