SIX THINGS EVERY PARENT OF AN ATHLETE NEEDS TO KNOW

Here we are again the start of a new school year which means to me sports! Peewee, little kickers, middle school, high school, college, professions I love them all. I could get real technical with this article but I feel the message gets lost in the jargon. So I decided to write it from the perspective of a mom. A mom who has played sports her whole life, and is a fierce competitor. A mom that was fortunate to have her college played for due to her basketball skills. A mom who sat in the ER with a dislocated jaw only to go back and win MVP of the tournament and a mom that has spent many years learning about the human body so I can help as many people as possible. Trust me; I’ve been in the trenches. If you can learn anything from this it should be to be the parent that’s what your children need!! So listen up to this advice, your children will thank you for it later!

1. Hard work pays off- sports are not easy you jump, get hit, fall down and sometimes run til you puke. But guess what? The harder you work the better you get! If your child is not happy about the position on the team they currently hold let them in on this little secret “work harder” Don’t talk to the coach don’t put down the player they want to replace don’t go out and hire the most expensive trainer start by “Working harder and smarter.” As a parent teach them how! Show up to practice first every day, do what your coach asks for and then more. Make your intentions very clear with your actions not your words.

2. Stay hydrated with water – water is the best drink for anyone participating in sports. Gatorade looks great in the commercials dripping off the muscles of Derek Jeter and Michael Jordan but with the sugar problem we have there is no reason to send your child with these drinks. A proper diet and water is always best!!

3. Be the parent not the coach- if you want to coach great! You be the person watching films til 1 am, preparing for practice after a full days work, organizing the snack Schedule, making sure every person gets in for 8 min or touches the ball three times. If this doesn’t appeal to you then be the parent!! Support the team and the coaches decisions. Good or bad, kindergarten or college, No coach wants to lose they are doing their best!

4. You make the decision for your child when to rest – that’s right “You” the parent make the decision! Not the coach, not the other players, not the. Child. You! Your child and I mean 18 years old and down is not informed enough to make the call. There is too much external pressures and not enough information to know. You as the parent decide when it is appropriate to come back from an injury, stop pitching, stop running, and stop swinging the racquet. You may be thinking how would I know? You make it your job to know! You call each and every specialist in the area until they are your friend; you read any book you can get your hands on so you can make the decision that is best for your child. You know them best, and only you have their best interest at heart. The parent makes the call and you better be informed. You can call me day or night!!

5. Do not allow your kids to specialize too early – research shows that early specialization (anything before high school) leads to asymmetrical muscle development and increased overuse injuries by up to 70percent. 60 percent of children that specialize before high school are no longer playing by their junior year due to burn out. Keep your child well rounded they will be better for it as they develop into young men and women .

6. Hugs and kisses are better than any post game chat – There is no doubt if your child did something wrong that they have already played it in their mind ten thousand times. They have had a coach with stinky breath spitting on them politely instructing them how to do it right. No need for post-game Xs and Os. Win or lose a post-game squeeze and a pec with a slap on the butt and a great job goes a long way!

As a parent take responsibility. If you are going to allow your child to participate in sports it will be best to assure their bodies are ready to withstand the challenge. It’s hard work for both the parents and the children. Rest assured the lessons learned are invaluable! Always remember this! “The harder you work the luckier you get”