How do you THE PARENT ensure your child enjoys themselves while learning a new game?
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First, try not to be critical of their performance. Kids are typically trying their hardest, if you are critical the experience will not be enjoyable and your childs interest in the sport will drop. Be positive and encouraging to their effort. Ask them to give their absolute best effort and be proud of them.
What can you do to help your child AND the team?
Ask the coach how you can help. Any good coach will involve the parents to help with the non-coaching responsibilities. You might be asked to chalk the field, or keep score or provide refreshments. When your child sees you are involved they will realize that you place importance on their endeavor.
Should you volunteer to coach?
Only if you are prepared to put in extra hours and try to become the best coach you can be. The kids can see a lazy, unmotivated, parent a mile away. They will challenge you. However, it is a very rewarding experience.
Should you volunteer to be a team parent?
Absolutely! Running a youth sports team is not easy. Any help you can provide with fundraising, non-coaching duties, and just helping out is critical to the success of any youth team. More importantly, you'll be showing your child that you care about what they are doing by being involved.
How much time is going to be expected of me if I do volunteer as a coach or a team parent?
It varies. Usually very little compared to the volunteer work the coach is putting in. You should do this because you want to, not because you feel obligated to. A coach usually puts in 8-10 hours a week minimum. A team parent typically will put in 2-4 hours a week. This a minimal amount of time to help your child enjoy an activity.
What if you never played the game your child wants to play, how can you help? Should you help?
You can help in a number of ways that I already mentioned or you learn to coach. There are many resources, like this web site that will help you. There are many books on drills and tips. The key is to be enthusiastic and positive. The best way to start is as an assistant and learn from the head coach or manager.
What if my child ends up with one of those crazy coaches you read about in the paper?
If your child plays long enough chances are you'll have a season with a "bad" coach. The best way to handle a coach like this is to talk with him privately AFTER the game, without your child around and voice your concerns calmly. Do not confront the coach during a game or before. Talk with other parents in the stands to determine if you are interpreting the coach correctly, you may have more support than you think. REMEMBER, most coaches are volunteers, they are not paid, keep this perspective and be cordial. If you get into an argument with your childs coach, everybody loses.
Which sport is best for my child?
Only your child can decide that. I suggest exposing them to a variety of sports while they are young. You will know which sports they enjoy the most.
What about playing the same sport all year long?
The chances of injury and burnout are greater if your child plays the same sport all year long. Studies have shown that children become BETTER athletes by playing different sports throughout the year. Trying to specialize before high school is a very easy way to burn your child out on a sport they may have a chance of being very successful at later in life.
Should they play multiple sports at one time?
They should not play two sports in one season. Unless there is absolutely no conflict in committment between the two. You will not be helping your child by over commiting them. Overlap between two seasons starting and ending is okay.
These are just a few of the questions you will be asking yourself when your child comes up to you and asks to play a sport because their friends at school play. Or maybe you think playing a sport will be better than playing video games. (You're right on this one, playing a sport is scientifically proven to be healthier for your child.)
If I haven't answered your question or you would like some feedback from the coach just ask. Contact The Coach here.