10 Things I Want My Athlete to Experience During Youth Sports
Dear Coach, I am excited for my child to play on your team. As you put in hours and hours of your time preparing for the game, and I put in hours and hours watching the results, I would ask you to remember that there are some very specific things I want my child to experience as he plays youth sports this year.
I want my child to have fun
I do not want to push my kid out the door to practice or games. I want him to love youth sports, but that can only happen if he starts out his experience having fun. Will you please take time to laugh with your team and let them just enjoy being kids?
I want my child to learn to respect people who are different
I want him to appreciate the uniqueness of each individual -- whether it’s race, religion, academic abilities, or skill level. He will get his cues from watching how you treat his teammates; please show him what respect looks like.
I want my child to learn to push himself and not give up
Just because he’s having fun doesn’t mean that it should be easy. I want youth sports to push him and pull the best out of him.
I want my child to feel the reward of hard work
When he’s worked his butt off, I want my child to experience the satisfaction of knowing that it’s paid off. I’m asking you to take notice too.
I want my child to get to be a star at least once
Even if she’s not the best player on the field or court, I would love her to have one game, one match, one meet, where she shines and stands out. I don’t expect it all the time and I don’t expect you to make it happen. But if you have the chance to give my child that opportunity, I will be forever grateful to you and youth sports.
I want my child to know that you care about him as a person, not just an athlete
My child is not just a skill player or a position on the field, he’s a kid who has to study, do chores, get along with parents and friends, and who may need some extra support and compassion every once in awhile. Please see him beyond his jersey; there’s more to him than sports.
I want my child to feel that you believe in him
Your belief that she can get the job done will empower her like nothing else. Let her know that you believe and you'll see her play and lead even better.
I want my child to learn to be a leader
He needs to know that leadership isn’t defined by how outgoing you are, but by how you model good character and serve others. Don’t overlook my child’s leadership ability just because he isn’t loud or flashy.
I want my child to make lifelong friends
Please be intentional about creating team unity by looking for ways to foster friendships. Their team bonding will not only give them great friends, it will help them play better together in the game.
I want my child to cherish the memories
As my child plays youth sports, I want her to create memories that she will talk about for many, many years. Memories that she will laugh about with her siblings and someday share with her own children. Your impact on her will have a lot to do with making that happen. Let’s put it this way: you can either be a fond memory or a distasteful one!
Coach, one more thing: thanks in advance for forgiving us parents when we get a little testy. We really do love our kids and want the best for them; it’s just that sometimes we get a little carried away during youth sports.
A Devoted Sports Mom and Dad