This post is sponsored by TeamSnap, a company that does its very best to make back-to-school sports as easy as possible by providing the best tools to help teams and parents run their organizations smoothly.
How’s your child’s youth sports season looking?
Is it already looking grim because of weak team chemistry, a negative coach, or maybe your child isn’t getting to play the position he’d hoped to play? Perhaps your child is already coming home discouraged about the season.
What will it take for your child to turn a potentially bleak season around?
It will take a simple 6-letter word: HABITS.
If your child is exercising these 5 habits, it will make a night and day difference in their outlook for the season and in their experience throughout the season.
Be on time. Better yet, be early. Getting there on time shows the coach that your child is punctual. Getting there a little early shows that your child is eager to play.
Practice like it’s game time. If your child is lazy in practice, how is the coach supposed to know how she will perform in the game? My husband, who coached for nearly three decades, used to call those athletes gamers because they practiced half-heartedly, but turned it on in the game. That may be okay for LeBron James or Dwayne Wade, but it probably won’t work well for your child. Your child’s coach needs to see what 100% effort looks like from your child so he knows how to position him in the game.
Find a focus for each practice. Your child may have a lot of skills to hone, but if she goes into each practice with the intention of focusing on a specific skill, she will most likely see more measurable progress. Help her list the skills she’d like to improve–running bases, serving, hitting, tackling–and then let her pick the one she wants to focus on for that day.
Find a victory every day. This is a natural outcome of Habit #3. When your child is focusing on a specific skill each day, it’s easier to see the small victories. But aside from Habit #3, help your child find a victory to celebrate every day in practice or in the game. It may be as little as remembering to high-five teammates when he comes out of the game, or as big as finally connecting with his receivers for a long TD pass.
It’s easy for kids to focus on the mistakes, the lack of playing time, or their dislike of the coach. But when they–and YOU–start looking for the little victories, you are drawn away from the negative to focus on the positive.
Little victories are subtle. They do not jump out at you. And if you are focused on other things, the chances are very good that you are missing some really cool stuff. Like the fact that your child is learning to take risks, or that she dove for the ball (even though she missed) and is showing more fight. Or maybe your child is showing leadership by being an encourager to his teammates.
This is one habit that really is a game-changer for you and your child. It will make a positive difference in any season.
Say Thank You. Gratefulness is the antidote to youth sports negativity. Start by encouraging your child to thank her coach, the officials, and her teammates for a good practice or game. And then take it a step further.
Gratefulness includes focusing on the small victories (Habit #4) and extends to not comparing. Someone will always hit better or throw better or swim better or catch better than your child. Neither you or your child should get sucked into the comparison strategy because it will drown out any ounce of gratefulness in your heart.
A grateful heart results in a positive attitude, which can shape the whole season. Without a doubt, gratitude is the foundation of an unstoppable attitude.
Practiced regularly, these five habits will have a ripple effect, eventually touching every corner of your child’s youth sports experience in a positive way, and probably others on the team as well.
In fact, these habits are fridge-worthy! Post them up as a reminder to your child–and to you–and watch how they work!
This post is sponsored by TeamSnap, who wants to help you focus on making your child’s youth sports experience a positive one. Their online team management makes your sports parenting job a lot easier!