If you’re raising a child whose dream is to make it as a professional or amateur athlete, then you probably have a lot on your hands. Parents often must play the role of coach, counsellor, cheerleader, and caregiver all at the same time.
All parents would also love for their child to be successful, or at least happy. But, too many times, sports parents may end up ruining their child’s dreams and prospects without realising it, while others may try to live their dreams through their child. Here are a few tips to raising a well-adjusted, happy, and successful child athlete.
This is one of the biggest mistakes parents make when they see some signs of athletic talent in their children. While they may seem gifted, know that it doesn’t necessarily mean that they should pursue a sport. So, while you can always make the suggestion, you need to know that they’re on board 100%. Also, you should let them choose many sports so they can make their own choice, not just the one that would be more lucrative.
There’s another reason why you should let your child play multiple sports. Specialising too early has been shown to increase the chance of injuries. This might be in part due to repetitive movement and actions. We strongly suggest that you wait until they’re at least 10 years old before you have them pursue a sport intensively.
The school they go to will also make a huge difference. It is a well-known fact that private schools usually have better sports facilities, coaching, and programmes. You could consider them but know that you don’t have to break the bank either. There are some programmes and resources that will allow your child to develop their skills even if they go to a public school.
However, if university is approaching, you should definitely consider enrolling them in a sports school if they’re serious about pursuing a career. Uni Compare have a ranking of the best UK sports universities on their website. They ranked the top 21 sport universities, and mention factors such as employability and salary. This will allow you to pick a university that has a great programme and reputation for sports, which will give your child a chance to better develop and get more attention from scouts as well.
You should also make sure that they pull their weight. If they’re old enough to have at least a part-time job, then encourage them to do so. Not only will it allow you to save some money, but it will also give you an impression of whether they actually want it or not.
Being a sport parent can be tough, but it’s all worth it when you see your child become successful and accomplish themselves. However, make sure to avoid some of the common pitfalls that so many sports parents fall into, and always remember to make it about them, not you.