When my millennial children suggested I try crossfit, I laughed. Even when they informed me that there was a 70-year-old woman named Ruth taking a class, I still brushed off their invitations, convinced that I was too old to start something I’d never tried. I had visions of trying to keep up with Herculean strength athletes and getting laughed out of the gym.
But 6 months ago, I gave in and decided to give it a try. The winning argument for me was the prospect of keeping muscles and bones strong as I got older.
I quickly learned that it is really hard work, and I get really really sore sometimes. But the crossfit experience has shown me things that I wish every sports community would take to heart. Those in youth sports who adopt these mindsets are undoubtedly giving young athletes the positive and growing experience they should be getting.
We work to compete against ourselves. In CrossFit, we work to better our own personal times and weights. We are not in the class to beat each other out. A good day for me is when I can lift heavier or finish a round faster than I did before. The only ones competing against each other are the ones who actually compete in CrossFit competitions.
Helping young athletes see the value of competing against themselves keeps them focused on their own performance, and not on everyone else. Finding improvements is possible even in a loss.
We always encourage one another. Even if I finish last or am lifting a fraction of what someone else is lifting, I get encouragement because in CrossFit, the goal is for everyone to do the very best they can do. I get post-workout fist bumps from the coach, the strongest person in the class and the ones who can barely finish. We know we are all on the same team–the team of “I did my very best today.”
CrossFit is living proof that hard work and a positive attitude can co-exist and produce results. Coaches and parents in youth sports must learn the pushing/encouraging balance. It’s okay to push and challenge players, but always, always, give them the encouragement to keep trying.
We can do more than we think we can. I never imagined that I’d be pushing myself as hard as I do. But there’s something about working out with others who are pushing just as hard as I am that encourages me to keep going. Sometimes I’m amazed that I actually have the persistence and fight to finish the workout.
The community of CrossFit has helped me push myself beyond what I ever thought I could. Your child should be challenged in their youth sports community too. Coaches and parents should always be cheering on the athlete’s progress, and coaxing them to do more, more than they ever thought they could.
Do you see these mindsets in your child’s youth sports experience? Are they learning to compete against themselves? Do they seek to always encourage teammates? Are they striving to keep doing more and keep pushing themselves?
Parents, don’t settle for less.
Are you a frustrated sports parent who is dealing with conflicts, drama, and your young athlete’s mental roadblocks? As a family/parenting coach, I can help you figure out how to move forward. Schedule a free 15-minute coaching consultation here.