Have you noticed that your kid doesn’t have as much enthusiasm towards their sport as they once had? Is their love for the game no longer there? Have they mentioned wanting to quit?
For some children, the signs of wanting to quit their sport may go on for weeks. Some parents are completely caught off-guard when their kid suddenly announces that they no longer want to play.
While it’s always best to support your child with their decisions, it’s important to determine if they are making the right one when they decide to leave something that they once showed so much love for. If your child is going through the “I want to quite” stage, you need to determine why. Just as with everything in life, there are good and bad reasons for quitting.
When your child first approaches you with their decision to quit, think about the days or weeks that led up to this moment. Were there already signs that your kid was withdrawing from the sport? Were they no longer excited to go to practice? Did playing at the games seem like a chore to them?
If so, it may be a time to get to the source. There may be a deep and possibly disturbing reason why they’ve lost love for the sport they once enjoyed. And quitting the sport without resolving that issue first is like sweeping dirt under the rug. The last thing you want is for your child to walk away from something without dealing with their emotions. They may carry that trauma with them their entire lives.
If the announcement to quit has come as a complete surprise, it may be a spur of the moment decision. Something may have happened at practice or something else has caught their attention. The reality is that some children naturally outgrow sports as they grow up, start hanging out with new friends who don’t play sports, or discover new hobbies.
Another reason why they may want to quit as they grow older is that they no longer feel that they can handle the demands of both studies and sports. If this is the case, it’s a very valid reason to quit.
Some kids are quite happy to juggle both school and sports. This is typical for children who identify themselves as student-athletes. And the reality is that some kids are just better at juggling multiple roles.
When it comes to your kid’s “I want to quit” phase, ensure that you give it your attention. If they have new interests, be supportive especially if they show passion for it. If they’ve withdrawn from the sport emotionally, there may be an underlying issue that needs to be resolved such as bullying by teammates, an abusive coach, or other unfortunate reasons why your child wants to leave the sport behind.
Whatever the case, support your child. Be their strongest advocate.
As parents, we’ve encouraged our kids to participate in sports because we know of the physical, social, and emotional benefits. We know that the values they learn participating in sports will stay with them well into adulthood. And one of the best lessons that kids take away from sports is how to be a good sport.
When we see other parents at games yell at the coach from the sideline, insult the other players, or criticize the decisions made by the officials, we think about how competition can really bring out the worst in people. But more importantly, we recognize the attitude and bad behavior in sports that we don’t want our kids to have.
There are many lessons that kids will naturally learn from participating in sports. Good sportsmanship however, is a trait that needs to be instilled and can only be taught through good coaching and good parenting.
As parents and coaches, young athletes need role models for good sportsmanship. When they see their coach lose their cool over losing, kids will develop that same win-at-all-costs mentality. And it’s the same when a parent gives them a hard time about a missed free throw, fumble, or strike-out.
When young athletes are led to believe that winning is everything, they start to perceive competition differently. The opposing team begins to look like their enemy. They start to consider a defeat as failure. Essentially, the fun in sports is replaced with an obsession to win.
By teaching your kids the value of good sportsmanship, you show them how to accept loss graciously and to respect the other team for their well-deserved win. You also teach them how not to be boastful winners.
Through sports, kids have the opportunity to learn how to be thankful, respectful, and humble. They learn how to manage their anger, respect the rules, to be fair and honest.
For parents, teach your kids good sportsmanship by praising their efforts rather than criticizing their flaws. Don’t point out their mistakes; offer suggestions on another approach. When it comes to sports performance, wait for them to ask for your advice.
Point out displays of good sportsmanship that you witness at games you see live or on TV. Also point out signs of bad sportsmanship such as those who are boastful about their win or don’t shake the other team’s’ hands after the game. Don’t ever make fun of the other team or their fans. When their team loses, don’t blame their defeat on the other team or officials.
Explain why it’s important to respect the officials and coaches who are just doing their jobs. Above all, teach them to play with integrity and explain why cheating and breaking the rules just to win is never considered a real win. They may enjoy it for the moment, but ultimately, they will know in their hearts that the win was not deserved.
We all know the physical benefits of regular exercise. Daily physical activity strengthens your heart muscles, helping prevent heart disease and stroke. It lowers blood pressure and helps fight obesity by reducing body fat, keeping your weight under control.
But beyond all the amazing physical benefits that you get from exercise and engaging in physical activity, did you know that it also affects you on a social and emotional level?
The Emotional Benefits of Physical Activity
Exercise releases feel-good chemicals in your brain such as endorphins which can give your mood a boost. Endorphins are the same chemicals that help your body manage pain. And this explains why endorphins also have the power to make you feel better and why something as simple as a jog or brisk walk can instantly improve how you feel. These chemicals in your brain make you feel more positive and focused, allowing you to let go of any stress you may be feeling. You feel calmer and altogether, happier.
Regular physical activity also improves your self-image which increases your confidence. People who get regular cardio and complement it with strength-training are typically trying to meet their fitness goals. And as they see results of their hard work, they feel empowered and accomplished. And because regular physical activity helps keep you at a healthy weight, you’re happier with your physical appearance.
The Social Benefits of Physical Activity
When you have self-esteem and self-confidence, your social relations improve. Because you feel good about yourself and have emotional health, you don’t shy away from social interactions. In fact, you may even take the first step to meeting new people and establishing new friendships.
People who engage in physical activity have the opportunity to meet new people all the time. You meet people running the same trail as you. You make acquaintances with the people you meet in yoga or cycling class. You might even join a team sport and make friends with all your teammates.
The social benefits don’t just mean that you make friends effortlessly but that you know how to handle yourself in social environments. And this is a great characteristic to have if you find yourself socializing with people often. Maybe your job puts you in front of people every day, or your work has you attending a lot of social events. Your job may even require that you to work in teams. And because of the social benefits of physical activity such as regular exercise or participating in a sport, you know how to work well with others.
Naming the physical benefits of participating in youth sports is easy. But did you know that there are just as many social benefits in kids joining sports?
Here’s a look at how sports participation helps your child’s social development:
Sports serve as a wonderful outlet for children to express themselves. A good coach encourages their athletes to not only have team goals but individual goals as well. As kids recognize their improvement in skills and meet milestones, they gain confidence. This enhances their well-being, inspiring and motivating them to try their best.
Interaction and Communication
Involvement in team sports means meeting teammates that can quickly become your child’s friends. Their interest in the sports gives them something in common. Kids who become friends on the field take their friendships off the field as well. And their teammates become their support systems at school and in their communities.
Through sports, kids learn communication skills as it is key in maintaining a functioning team. Communication isn’t limited to talking, but it is also about picking up on nonverbal cues and actively listening.
Teamwork is a valuable social skill that kids will carry with them well into adulthood. Through sports, they learn about cooperation and how to work well with others. This is a valuable skill that carries into their personal lives as they work with their classmates and later in life, their colleagues.
Kids who are part of a sports team are less likely to act selfishly. They make better decisions because they know their actions affect the team.
In a team sport, the players know the roles that they play and that their actions affect the entire team. Because of this, they know how important it is not to skip practice or ignore the coach’s directions. They know that failing to do their part means failing the team.
And beyond sports, they know that their participation in sports is considered a privilege. They know that they are able to play sports because they don’t neglect their studies or chores at home. And with responsibility comes learning effective time management skills – a valuable skill that will benefit them their entire lives.
Sense of Community
Because children who participate in sports have a stronger sense of self, they naturally develop a sense of community. They recognize that sports bring family, friends, and neighbors together. Sports build stronger relationships and better social interactions with all that are involved – from parents, coaches, teammates, and fans.
Youth sports coaches have different personalities and come in all shapes and sizes. But there are characteristics that all coaches have regardless of experience, own athletic skills, background, and sport.
They make the sport about the kids
Why do some people volunteer as coaches? It probably comes as no surprise to you that many of them want to relive their glory days. Maybe they were the star player in high school or were close to playing pro ball even.
For whatever reason, they never made it to the next level. And coaching now gives them the opportunity to be an authority on the sport again. Of course, this isn’t always the case. However, there are coaches out there who make the team about them, relying on the kids wins determines their success.
They don’t play favorites
Just as some teachers have been known to have class pets, some coaches have favorites. You guessed it; they’re usually the star players. While a great coach also celebrates their most skilled athletes, they also don’t ignore the players that need a little more attention.
They put safety first
A good coach would never do anything to jeopardize the safety and well-being of their players. They would never push them beyond their physical and mental limits. A great coach would have undergone CPR and First Aid certification training to ensure that they can be counted on in the event of emergencies or injuries.
They are role models for respect and good sportsmanship
You can talk to kids about being respectful to their teammates and opponents all you want. Ultimately, it is your actions that they will learn most from. A great coach never badmouths the other team or teaches their athletes to be bitter about defeat.
They’ve undergone coach training
If a coach is serious about being the best coach they can be, they will invest their time in learning all they can so that they have a good foundation in coaching. Through training, coaches will learn about their responsibilities, expectations, and limitations.
They teach that winning isn’t everything
A great coach teaches their athletes that winning isn’t everything. In competition, there is always a winner and a loser. However, losing the game shouldn’t take away the fact the team still had fun, put in their best effort, and learned something. A great coach teaches that there are valuable lessons to be learned from failure.
They don’t bring down players’ self-esteem
Ultimately, a great coach is also a good human being. They inspire and motivate. They foster camaraderie amongst the players. They don’t tolerate bullying. They show their young athletes how to improve their skills so that they feel empowered by their progress.