Instill Good Habits in a Young Athlete

These days, most young children are introduced to different types of sports even before they learn to read. Loving a sport is always good as this helps a child to learn different types of life skills like motivation, discipline, cooperation and commitment. But at the same time, there are some rough patches through which you may have to pass as a parent.

The first choices to be made are selecting the right sport, and choosing a good coach and a nurturing team, both of which are very important. What may be harder is watching the game from the sidelines without making your child anxious. A parent is said to be the first teacher, instructor or coach of their child, so therefore, a parent must instill good habits in the young athletes. Here are some guidelines to follow.


Don’t overdo things

Often sports become such a big deal that the parents overdo things. Some parents encourage their kids to focus on one single sport intensely at an early age, while others enroll the kids in different types of activities at the same time. But both of these things can actually backfire. Parents need to consider the main stages of development in young athletes.

Too much pressure on young athletes can make them feel like sports is a boring job rather than a fun-filled activity. On the other hand, having too much variety can make the young athlete too busy to learn a lot of things well so that they fail to focus on any of the games. So, as per the experts, a young athlete should play 2-3 sports every year, so that they can get a wide range of skills.

Let the child decide which sport

Let’s assume that the young athlete has tried a number of things over the past few years. So, they must have developed some kind of preferences. Once they have gotten a little older it is generally best to ask the young athlete which sport or the team they prefer to join.

Often parents choose to put their kids in the same sports program that their friends are in. But this is not the best thing to do. Rather, it is better to let the kids decide, based on which sport they enjoy the most. The goal is for them to be well-rounded and enjoy sports, not learn to hate it. Once the decision is made, a parent’s involvement is crucial.

young softball player

Do the necessary homework

To begin to instill good habits in a young athlete, the parent should take the time to be well informed. To do this,  they should try to find children’s sports programs which suit the personality and skill set of the child. Attend a practice session and observe to get the sense of the team’s culture, when deciding where the child might fit best.

Don’t forget to see the coach in action, which will help to get an idea about the expertise of the coach and how they relate to the kids. A parent should look for a coach that is a good instructor, is encouraging, and not a bully or someone who yells at the kids.

Ask the child for a commitment

Before you allow your youngster to sign up for any sports event, make sure they are committed to taking part in the entire season. In case they don’t enjoy it, then ask them to take part in something else next year. According to the experts, when the kids stick with a game for a certain period of time, they get improved skills which can increase their enjoyment of the game, and sometimes they even look forward to playing another season. Never make any decision in a hurry.

Teach them to care for their body

Even young athletes should learn how to take care of their bodies before and after practice sessions and games. It is becoming more common for pre-teens and teens to blow out knees or elbows by using incorrect form or not following good practices afterwards. It is’t too early for them to learn the use of ice baths, stretching, strength training (done very carefully by trained instructors), and even the use of a RP Sports leg compression machine where warranted.

young soccer players

Some sports like football, running, soccer, and other sports that incur a lot of running benefit from using leg compression. Instilling good habits includes the habits of taking care of their body so that they can look forward to many years of enjoyable playing.