Let Your Child Make Important Decisions

Help your child enjoy the youth sports experience

While every parent wants to be involved with their child’s activities, it is important to remember that the primary experience here belongs to your son or daughter. You may suggest a sport or activity to do, but the choice of which sport to play should be your child’s. With that being said, that does not mean that you do not do your due diligence as a parent in protecting your child.

When your child is trying out for a new team, meet the coach or coaches.  Make sure that you know something about the coaches and/or team.  Watch their practice to see how they operate.  Many teams will just have your son or daughter join the team for practices or games for a tryout. Once you determine that the coach did not appear to be a maniac, that he was not screaming at children all the time, and that they had a decent idea of how to run a practice, the final decision on whether to  joined that team would rest with your child.

This decision may not seem like much, but it may be huge to your son or daughter. It also will go along way in their continuing to play. They must feel comfortable in their surroundings. This does not mean they must have a perfect environment handed to them. But they must feel that they like the other kids on the team, that they feel like they want to play for the coach, and especially if you are stepping up a level like going to travel or club ball that they feel like they are ready to take that step. After playing a few games and your child expresses that they are not comfortable with the team, ask if there is anything specific that makes them uncomfortable.  If the child decides that they no longer want to play, it is OK.  Support your child.  Just like decisions we must all make as adults, we don?t always want to, or we are not always able to say exactly why we made that decision.

Just to be clear, I am not saying give up your rights as parents to say “no,”  if there is a certain reason to go that route. For example, a child may not be allowed to try out for any type of contact sports, such as football, if they have a medical condition that  precludes them from doing so.  In which case, of course, as a parent you would say “no.” But don’t be too overprotective. Some parents over protect their children thinking they can prevent them from ever suffering pain, much less a serious injury.   Allow your child to have fun and join a team – the experience will be good for them.