The Psychology of Sport and How to Keep Your Kids Healthy
Sports are great. They promote a healthy lifestyle. They teach the value of teamwork and hard work. But they can also result in intense pressure that stems from competition.
Today, kids feel the pressure to perform and excel at everything. They want to win and will often feel like a failure if they don’t. Sports at even the youngest level are ultra competitive these days, and all of this pressure and competition has caused some problems for some kids and their parents.
The main goal is to keep our kids healthy, active, and enjoying the athletic experience. Here are some things you can do to make sure their time participating in sports is more enjoyable and less stressful.
Emphasize Winning but Explain Losing is Reality Also
Understanding that both winning and losing is part of life is important for kids. They need to know it’s important to try to always win, but that losing is also part of the game. This type of lesson carries beyond sports and into life.
If you put too much pressure on your kids to win, when they do lose it’s going to put a lot of pressure on them. They will feel like they are a failure. But if they know that it’s also part of the process it will go over better.
Make Sure They Have Other Interests and Hobbies
A lot of parents will apply so much pressure on one sport and it consumes the kids life. Being very involved and participating at the highest levels is great, but don’t make it their only interest and activity.
Diversification is great. Encourage your kids to also be involved in other activities, not just his or her main sport. It could be something non-athletic like computer programming or playing a musical instrument, or it can be another physical activity.
They are kids. Let them explore and take in as many experiences as possible.
Spend Time with Your Family Away from Competitive Sports
If your family is involved in sports at a high level it will consume a lot of your time. Just make sure that isn’t the only family time you have. Your kids might start to resent it if it doesn’t stay fun.
Make sure you do family activities away from sports. Day trips, movie nights, etc. You don’t want them to feel like sports is the only glue holding the family together. Enjoy sports as a family, but also have family time activities that don’t include them as well.
If You Sense Depression Have Them Speak to Someone
Kids feel more pressure these days than they ever have in the past. There is more pressure to be successful at a young age. From pressure to not let the team down to pressure related to getting a scholarship – there are multiple causes of stress.
If you sense that your kids are feeling pressure and it’s led to mild depression then make sure you get them help right away. Websites like Clarity Clinic are a great place for parents to find local help.
You might even want to speak to their school’s psychiatrist for advice. You want to make sure your kids don’t let unnecessary pressure ruin their love of sports.