How does your child get pumped up before games?
Perhaps he has a routine or listens to music, or simply sits alone to focus.
Maybe her team has a cheer a creative fist-bump that helps get them “up.”
But let’s be honest, are those really the things that are getting your child “pumped up” for a game?
Pump-Up Habit #1: Be sure your child is properly fueled.
You know the drill. Be sure your child is drinking plenty of water all the time, not just an hour before the game. And send him off to play with nutritional fuel that will help him play his best. It’s too easy to rush past the food and hydration because you’re in a hurry to get out the door. Rushing past this pumping-up habit will negatively impact his game.
Pump-Up Habit#2: Be sure your child is prepared.
Actually, this is the coach’s job, but as a parent, you can see that your child is getting the instruction she needs to know how to do her job on the team. If she doesn’t understand, encourage her to talk to her coach. If she wants to talk strategy with you, by all means, help her out. Your child will be pumped up to play when she feels ready to meet the competition.
Another way for your child to be prepared is to have all her equipment together. Encourage her to keep her gear in one place and get her uniform the night before so she’s not rushing around in a panic before the game looking for stuff.
Pump-Up Habit #3: Be sure your child feels your support.
There are many ways to communicate that support. Maybe it’s just a fist-bump as he exits the car. Or maybe it’s a last-minute reminder that “I love watching you play!” But one thing communicating support does NOT mean is that you coach your child all the way to the game. If you are not the coach, then don’t be the coach unless your child specifically asks for your help. Be the parent who’s there as a positive support through highs and lows, good seasons and bad seasons.
Your support may not guarantee that your child will have a mistake-free game, but it will help her play better knowing that her performance will not dictate how you talk to her after the game.
Pump-Up Habit #4: Be sure your child is learning to love the game.
Parents, this starts with you, and it extends to your child’s coach. If your child learns to love the game, then getting pumped up may be fun, but it will not be necessary because her love for the game will be an automatic pump!
If your child has a negative, short-sighted coach, one who does not love kids as much as he loves the game, one who reveres winning over character-development, then when the season is over (or sooner, if it’s really bad) find one that will not taint your child’s love for the game, one who focuses on fun, skill development and character, one that sees the long-term value of the youth sports experience.
If you adopt these four pump-up habits, your child will be ready to perform in each game. She can keep fist-bumping, keep chanting, keep doing goofy pre-game rituals, but they will be the icing on the cake, not the true foundation that will help her reach excellence.
This post is sponsored by AER, the first Automatic Ball Pump that gives you the perfect pump every time. They want to help you and your child “have a ball” in youth sports!