What’s Next: When Your Child Makes a Competitive Sports Team
September 21, 2022
by kevin gardner, guest contributor
Being a member of a team is an essential part of learning how to work well with others. Spending time with different personalities helps young people discover more about themselves and define who they want to be. As they age, kids may become interested in branching out and challenging their abilities. Competitive sports teams could provide the program they are looking for. Here are a few key points to remember after the excitement of making the roster wears off.
There Will be Travel Expectations
Because these teams draw from a regional pool of athletes, most games will be held in other cities or towns. While some will be within a day's drive, others may require overnight stays. Florida and Miami Gardens Inn & Suites are popular destinations for many tournaments, especially since the weather allows for year-round events without the fear of freezing temperatures. Inquire with the coaches and managers of your squad to find out if they do fundraising as a group or if you will be responsible for covering travel costs on your own. This may be an excellent time to teach your teen about building a savings account.
You Need to Purchase Equipment
Very few teams will provide the necessary gear beyond uniforms and balls. Even then, you may incur some related expenses as a joining fee. The governing body of your sport will mandate what other articles you must have. These can range from a specific type of shoe to a regulation stick or bat to the requisite softball gloves and helmets. Participants will not be allowed on the field if they are not properly outfitted.
You May Have to Parent Through Disappointments
Although being chosen to be on a competitive team is a beautiful accomplishment, it is not a guarantee of playing time. Encourage your child to attend every practice and to do additional drills during off days. Push them, but remember that everyone who earned a place with the troupe is likely a strong performer. Accept when they are taken out and help them to correct any noticeable errors. If they are confronted with failure, let them know that failing is a pivotal part of growing. Try to avoid bad-mouthing their teammates or other adults, and if you have an issue with someone, see if you can speak to them privately rather than create a scene.
The Family Requires Downtime
It is easy to fall victim to the hectic schedule in front of you. Make it a point to set aside moments when the entire household can be together and relax. Everyone should know that they are a valuable part of the brood. Maybe pick a movie you can all enjoy, whether that means a comedy or horror pic. Putting too much emphasis on an athlete can cause undue pressure and lead to emotional anxiety. Similarly, neglecting one sibling because the other is successful can be just as damaging. If you start to observe signs of stress in anyone, talk about what might be bothering them.
Teachers and Schools Expect Academic Hard Work
Extra innings, overtime, and strenuous practices can drain the most determined teen. It would help if you clarified what you expect regarding class attendance and grade point average. This is another area where asking too much can be detrimental, so be careful to keep the lines of communication open. Email a guidance counselor if you are concerned and ask them to reach out to the staff to find out if they have noticed any red flags
A Child is Still a Child
Celebrate the achievement of making the team and share the news with friends and family. Kids like to make their relatives proud and are aware when you are on the sidelines, cheering them on. Do not be fooled if they say it doesn't matter if you show up or not.
The roar of the crowd rising from the stands is contagious. It is logical that your kiddo wants to be involved. Help them to accept the highs and lows, and keep an eye open for those teachable moments.
Kevin Gardner graduated with a BS in Computer Science and an MBA from UCLA. He works as a business consultant for InnovateBTS. As busy as he is with his career, Kevin has made his family a priority and has found creative ways to give them the time they deserve. Whenever possible, he writes about his experiences and shares them to help others.
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