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Motivating your child to work hard and do their best in a sport while also keeping it enjoyable for them is sometimes a juggling act. We want them to learn and grow without becoming overly frustrated if they are struggling. While in the early learning stages, they might not be able to master the skills of a sport, but you, as their #1 fan, can help them master the fun of sports!
1. Set a Season Goal
Ask your child what they are looking forward to the most during the season and help them set a few achievable goals to identify their version of fun and success. Maybe they want to set a personal record (PR) or win an event in track and field or they want to score 5 goals during their soccer season. Or it could be as simple as “be a great team player.” Learning to set goals is a good tool to help your child grow and improve their skills. You can not only help celebrate team wins but personal wins with goal setting throughout the season. How fun is that?!
Extra tip: Have your child use a template to create their SMART Goal (Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound).
2. Make a “My Goal” Poster
To help visualize their goal and get creative, have your child make a “My Goal” poster.
Talk to them about how they plan to achieve this goal. Let them have fun with it. Make sure to hang it up where they can see it every day so they are reminded of what they are working toward. Also, share this goal with their coach so they can also help support your athlete throughout the season.
Extra tip: Add pictures of their favorite athletes or inspirational quotes to help motivate them.
3. Talk about Their Progress
Make sure to evaluate and talk about your athlete’s progress throughout the season. This tip is especially important if your child is new to a sport. If they get frustrated with messing up or not mastering a skill, provide encouragement. Focus on effort rather than outcome. Talk to your child about what works for them and celebrate the little wins and what is the most fun for them!
Try to use the same language after a win or a loss and don’t be afraid to change or modify their goal especially if your athlete surpasses it early in the season.
Ask questions like “What area do you think you did well in today” and follow up with “At your next practice or game, what do you need to apply extra focus on?” When they can see their progress, even the smallest things, they are more likely to have fun and enjoy playing!
Extra tip: Depending on the goal, add milestones to your child’s goal poster so they can identify their progress with check marks or fun stickers.
4. Encourage sportsmanship and team effort
Sports can be a great way to meet new friends and build your child’s social confidence. So encourage them to be a team player and support their fellow athletes. Creating friendships will not only provide better team chemistry but also create a fun atmosphere for the athletes to learn and grow together.
Extra tip: Encourage your athlete to be a “we player” not a “me player.” A “we player” understands that he or she is a part of a team and is committed to helping the team win and have fun.
Do you have any tips that help your athlete have fun and stay motivated? Share in the comments below!