Your young athlete needs to know this very important truth.
As a sports parent, you will give a lot of advice, coaching, and encouragement to your young athlete over the years. As you do, remember that there is one phrase that every athlete needs to hear and believe from his parents.
There’s more to life than sports.
When your little leaguer doesn’t get chosen for the all-star team. There’s more to life than sports.
When your middle school basketball players doesn’t make the A-squad. There’s more to life than sports.
When your high school softball player spends more time in the dugout than on the field. There’s more to life than sports.
When your college volleyball player struggles for playing time on a very competitive team. There’s more to life than sports.
Recently, when one of my kids was struggling with her sport, her older brother sat her down and reminded her, there’s more to life than sports. He wanted her to fully understand that she should not define herself only by her sports.
The tricky part with saying those words comes in timing. It is important that they are spoken at the right time, when your child is most receptive, which will most likely not be the minute they learn they didn’t make the team, or on the way home in the car after they sat the bench for most of the game.
Better yet, your young athlete needs to hear those words before he even faces the tough times; he needs to hear them from the very beginning, when he is old enough to start playing.
And just as important, your child needs to feel those words. Which means you can’t just speak those words, you must live them.
Be sure your child has other interests, be sure your child knows that win or lose, succeed or fail, you support him. Be sure that you do other things with your child besides go to his games. Be sure that your conversations and actions back up what you are saying.
Because in the end, the most important words your child hears will not be the words you are saying, but the words you are living.