How to encourage your child with sports practice

The desire for our young athletes to do well is usually what motivates parents to reach the ‘pushy’ stage. No mother or father relishes the sight of their child sitting on the sidelines or playing below their skill level during the game. Seeing your child provide a lacklustre attempt is frustrating. So, whether it is in school, sports, or a job, parents are always looking for answers on how to help their children try harder and get ahead.

There is magic answer to motivate our children when it comes to sports practice. However, the first step is to recognize that lack of motivation might be due to the fact that your child is not enjoying the sport.

Once you realize that the lack of inspiration is associated with something deeper, you can start to get to the root of the problem and start pushing your child in a positive way.

You see, not all pushing is bad. Positive encouragement is very beneficial for your child. The difference between the positive and negative pressure is massive. Negative encouragement uses tactics such as comparison, bribery, shaming and anger. Positive encouragement includes constructive comments, positive feedback, calm enthusiasm and a focus on child welfare.

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  1. Ask the right questions after practice or a game. How is practice going? How do you feel about your game tonight? One or two questions show your interest, while too much may feel like you’re bombarding them.
  2. Be in attendance at as many games as you can. This communication and presence can support and encourage young athletes to work harder for themselves.
  3. Be generous with praise for hard work. It demonstrates your support without linking your love for your child to their performance.
  4. Let your young athletes have fun outside, enjoy a good game, score points and win the game. When they can see their labour paying off, they will be encouraged to try even harder. Try some fun Soccer Training Drills, available at Sportplan.
  5. Don’t allow your anxiety rub off onto your budding athlete. That only motivates them to do just enough to make you happy but only teaches them how to soothe you.
  6. Allow your young athlete made his or her own choice. If it was a bad choice, let them face the natural consequences. This is probably one of the most powerful lessons of all.


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    1. Ask the young player the right questions. What do you seek to achieve? What is your ultimate goal in this sport? What would make you want to work harder? When he speaks, listen well. Respect the answer, even if you do not like it. Letting your child have his own goals will help to boost confidence, which is a perfect motivation.

    Don’t think your child’s lack of motivation is your fault. Their athletic abilities do not define you and their results or performance don’t make you a failure or parent-of-the-year! Their mistakes should not make you feel ashamed or embarrassed.

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