Although youth sports is supposed to be a fun experience for you and your child, it’s inevitable that youth sports stress (read the signs here) will creep in. After all, competition comes with pressure and that pressure affects sports parents in a multitude of ways.
What stresses you out about youth sports? The busy-ness? The coaching conflicts? The drama?
Those are definitely reasons to feel stress, but I think if parens would start looking IN for answers to their stress, instead of blaming something on the OUTside, they would get to the heart of the problem. Let’s dig in and talk about the 5 Reasons you are REALLY feeling stress about youth sports and how to handle it.
You are trapped in the Busy-ness
Once you start signing your kids up for sports teams and other activities, the busy-ness can start to snowball and you find yourself saying yes to more things than you actually have time for. This results in scheduling conflicts, no family time, pressure to get things done at home and at work, and tiredness on top of it all that makes you irritable and unable to fully enjoy the season.
When you are feeling this kind of stress, it affects your mood and how you treat others: the coach, your child, other parents, and your spouse.
The way to get un-trapped is really very simple: start prioritizing your commitments and learn to say NO.
You are Focused on Short-term Results
It’s easy as sports parents to get wrapped up in this game, this week, this season only. It’s funny how we often complain that kids want things done immediately because I think that many parents are doing the very same thing and setting that example for them. You want your child to get more playing time NOW. To score more points NOW. To get recognition NOW. Win the game NOW.
Parents who are always focused on short-term results will get easily frustrated because your child’s development and growth in youth sports is a journey, it’s a process. It’s bigger than one season, one coach, one camp or clinic. Your child will grow and learn and improve over time. And in the process, they will become stronger in skills and in character. It all takes time, and when you are in a hurry and are looking for immediate results, you will find yourself getting more and more frustrated, leading to feelings of stress.
Step back and focus on the bigger picture of what you want your child to learn and who you want them to become through this experience.
You are not listening to your child’s desires and dreams
When was the last time you asked your child how they felt about playing that sport? Or what their dreams are for the future in that sport?
It may be that once upon a time, your child loved playing softball and she was good, so you became her biggest cheerleader and swept her along into private coaching and elite teams. But then she got burned out because that’s all she was doing.
I’ve known players like that. They started out loving the sport and ended up quitting early because they were burned out. I have a feeling that if their parents had listened a little more closely to their child’s desires, they could have kept burnout from happening. Maybe they would have let her try other sports too, or take a summer off from travel ball.
You may be frustrated because your athlete is really good, but just doesn’t seem to care anymore. And you’re stressed because they just have to make the high school team, or play in college.
I would say this to you: ask them. Ask them what their dreams are. What do they love about the sport? Do they even enjoy playing anymore?
And then listen, listen to what they say and what they are not saying. Hear their heart.
I honestly believe that parents feel more stress because they demand so much out of their athletes when their athletes don’t have anything left to give.
Are you struggling with stress related to youth sports? I have designed a plan to help you. Learn more here.