What if Your Child Plays Sports, but is not Aggressive?

By Janis Meredith | Posted 1/14/2019

If your child is naturally aggressive about everything they do, including sports, then you may not need to read any further.

But for those of you parenting kids who insist on playing a sport, even though they don't possess an ounce of aggression, keep reading!

Here are the best ways for you to handle this so that it benefits your child and doesn’t hurt your relationship with them:

Focus on Fun. If your child is young, and especially if he or she is just starting out in sports, then teaching them to be aggressive should not be your focus. Pushing your child to be competitive, or aggressive, usually doesn’t work anyway and may cause your child to display resentment. Just let them be a kid and have fun while learning the fundamentals.

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Find a better fit. Your child may not like the physical contact of a sport like a football, soccer or basketball. Some kids enjoy individual sports more than team sports. Give tennis, track, and field, swimming, or golf a try.

Build your child’s skills. At a young age, kids who are more aggressive tend to be the ones who have more aggressive personalities overall. They are not aggressive in playing because they are better skill wise; they are aggressive because that’s just who they are. Kids who are not so aggressive should focus on growing their skills as they grow older. As a young athlete becomes more confident in their skills, they will be more courageous in their play; once they start perfecting the skills, the competitiveness will come naturally.

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Be a positive sports parent. The bottom line in youth sports is this: as a parent you have the power to make or break your child’s experience. If you encourage without pushing and support without stifling, your child will grow into their own.

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Whether that means they play aggressively in a physical sport, or whether they don’t play sports at all, they will discover their own abilities and passions.

Many top athletes were shy as youngsters. Tennis legend Pete Sampras had a reputation for being quite reserved, perhaps even shy, but he still developed into a world-class tennis player. Dedication, determination, and commitment, not aggression, made him the player he was, and those traits will make your child a good athlete as well.

Janis B. Meredith is a family and parenting coach. She provides resources to help parents raise champions. Learn more about how she can help parents Raise Champions.