Life is competitive
We all know how competitive humans can be. Sports, the job market, and social relationships all have competitive sides that can sometimes go overboard. None of us want our kids to get left behind when it comes to preparing for life, so we push them.
But when is the competition too much with kids’ sports? From a young age, both of my boys were pretty good athletes. We tried baseball, soccer, football, and martial arts to see what they would like and what they were good at. I know some people believe in having their kids focus in on one sport so they become really skilled. The problem is that sometimes they can get burned out. I’ve seen many kids who just got tired of doing the same sport season after season and eventually lost interest. Some of that may have to do with the parents’ relentless pushing of them to succeed.
I know I’ve been guilty of pushing too hard at times, and looking back on some of those makes me cringe. Yelling at my kids during their games were not my best moments, and if I had some of those to do over again, I would just let them have fun.
Kids’ sports are supposed to be fun, right? When you push kids too hard at anything it creates stress and stress is not fun. Even if your kid is a super-athlete and you can tell he or she is going to be great, my advice would be to calm down and just watch, and just let him or her enjoy the game. There is so much time in their lives to experience different sports and other activities that you really should let them figure it out.
I’ve also watched other parents throughout my kids’ sports careers, who were much more relaxed than I was, and their kids turned out just fine. They are good athletes and are not at all behind on the competitive scale. And those kids seem more relaxed having their parents at the games knowing their parents are calm and not coaching them from the stands.
So, for any parents of young children who are wondering how hard to push, I urge you to sit back and enjoy the ride and just relish how cute they are. Believe me, they’ll have plenty of time to develop, and you can always move them to more intense travel teams later if they need better competition. They’ll be through their childhoods soon enough and be immersed in the trials of life, so let these days be about the joy of being kids. Seeing them smile and having fun is the most important thing.
I know exactly what you mean by pushing the kids to hard. I had the same sort of experience myself, my boy was really into his football (soccer) as a youngster and was a member of the local acadamy.
I would make sure he was at training twice a week and would be there on the sidelines both cheering and yelling, I guess you could say I was trying to get him to live my dreams rather than his own.
There is also the danger, that even if they don’t get fed up with it, they could be all burnt out before they even had a chance to live the dream and make a career from sport.
I always thought that I knew what was best for him with regards to the football, but the pressure that I was putting on him to succeed eventually pushed him away from the game which was a great shame and something that I really regret.
Thanks for sharing this article, hopefully if enough people get to read it then the kids will have a much better chance.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Paul. Yours is a perfect example of why we should just sit back and enjoy the ride with our kids and let them take the lead with what they want to pursue. After all, if they don’t have the passion for it, we can’t instill that. It has to come from within.
Shannon, I hope every parent read this article.
I’ve seen many kids in my neighborhood got burned out because they’re doing same sport again and again.
I feel like we as a parent should introduce different sports to them, let them try soccer, baseball, fencing, then after a while let them decide which one they want to focus on.
To be honest, we as an adult also did the same thing when we choose our job or skill. We just don’t realize it.
Marisa, thanks so much for your comments. You are absolutely right about doing this as adults and I never thought about that. 🙂