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The lies circulating around the youth sports world may be unintentional, in fact most are probably a result of well meaning misinformation. Even so, they have tainted the youth sports culture and encouraged pretty negative behavior. The best way to combat this is through knowledge, so here are my top 10 sports parenting lies, have you been told any of these?
1. My kid must play sports because I did:
Your child does not have to be your clone. Let him/her follow their own dreams.
2. Playing time is a priority if my child is going to get anything out of sports:
Playing time is actually not the measuring stick of a successful season; character development, skill improvement, and hard work are.
3. My kid's coach does not have a clue what they're doing:
Perhaps your child's coach doesn't know the sport as well as you do, and perhaps you don't like her strategy, but the coach spends a lot of time getting to know the players, and
4. I have to fight my kid's battles:
When you do that, you rob your child of the opportunity to grow as a person.
5. My kid's going to play Division 1 college:
Perhaps they are, and perhaps they won't. First of all, you need to make sure it's what your child wants, and second, if your child does want to play in college there are options besides D-1.
6. My kid is the best player on the team:
Maybe your child is good, but who's to say they are the "best?" What's the definition of best? Most talented? Best leader? Most unselfish? Every kid is the best at something, so don't concentrate on this.
7. Winning is the important thing:
The older you get in youth sports, the more important it becomes. But the best coaches and parents- the ones who truly care about the development of character in their athletes- are those that know there's more to sports than winning.
8. My kid has to play one sport year round to stand out:
Most sports experts agree that kids who specialize early on in one sport will either burn out early or won't become the best they can be. Athletes who crosstrain and play multiple sports usually end up better for it.
9. My kid has to pay big bucks to play club sports or travel sports to keep up:
Your child does not have to play club sports to stay in shape, to play the game or to work hard during the off-season. There are cheaper and easier ways for your player to stay on top of their game and get gret experience.
10. I have to push my children, or they won't be successful in sports:
Pushy parents are control freaks who feel as if their child's success is totally their responsibility. Your child has to learn responsibility, and letting them push themselves is a great way to develop that skill.
Fuel the dream series gives parents expert insight into youth sports, and how to best support their young athletes. This week's author is Janis B. Meredith; sports mom and coach's wife, writes a sports parenting blog called jbmthinks.com. Her new booklet 11 Habits for Healthy and Positive Sports Parents is available on Amazon.