Every parent wants their sporty child to succeed in both school and the field. But it’s hard to find a balance—something young student-athletes value now more than ever. For the kids, when do they get time to themselves? For the parents, when do you know if you’re providing the support your child needs?
The key to parenting a successful student-athlete is knowing your role in their life. Figure out what your child needs as well—in a coach, in a teacher, and in a parent. Know that you can’t be all three at once. But you can be their support system, filling in for their needs.
Encourage play over competition.
When your child is on the court, what should matter more is that they have fun. This gives them a more positive attitude, good sportsmanship, and a better work ethic toward their sport. Being overly competitive amongst their peers will discourage them from being a team player, something many coaches factor into playing time.
Let your kids be responsible for their own equipment, school stuff, and lunches.
Doing this gives them a sense of responsibility and also independence. It helps not to over-baby your kids so that they understand the value of work and grit. They end up understanding the need for certain roles, tasks, and responsibilities. Help give your budding sports master the soft skills to own the playing field while also having the right attitude.
Focus on progress over victories.
Many parents fall into this trap as well, seizing their children’s own sports careers as their own. One thing you need to foster early on is the idea that sports isn’t about winning. It’s about growing, getting better in terms of technique, skill, and approach.
The same goes for academics. Don’t let their grades get in the way of their learning. Sure, it matters in the long run, but check in once in a while to see if your kids are understanding their lessons. Not just acing them.
Don’t fall for the sport specialization myth.
Many parents falsely think that, in order for their child to be “good enough” they should train in one sport early in life. This actually limits their potential and their abilities. Why do you think athletes play multiple sports? They end up forming skills, abilities, muscle memories. even leading to fewer injuries.
Disengage at the right time.
When your kids are at training, they have coaches. When they’re at school, they have teachers. When they’re at home, they have you. Learn to trust in their coaches and teachers. They have your child’s best interests in mind and heart, and they will know the best methods and approaches to see them through.
Know when your child needs emotional support instead of training or tutoring. Know when to be just mom or dad, not a coach or teacher.
Take advantage of breaks and free time.
Many student-athletes struggle with finding a healthy balance between school, sports, and life. Training takes up the time after classes, and it ends up being more work than play. When they do have free time, it’s spent catching up on academics. So if you catch your child in a leisurely mood, take the time to bond or catch up. Encourage them, facilitate bonding activities that aren’t related to their sport.
A lot of what athletes learn in sports can be applied to the classroom. For example, teamwork fosters into how they participate in group assignments. What they do to better themselves in face of loss will determine how they aim to succeed in life as well.