One year ago, I began CrossFit and quickly learned that it is really hard work. The CrossFit experience has shown me things that I wish every sports community would take to heart. Those in youth sports who adopt these mindsets are undoubtedly giving young athletes the positive and growing experience they should be getting.
Work to compete against yourself. In CrossFit, we work to better our own personal times and weights. We are not in the class to beat each other out. A good day for me is when I can lift heavier or finish a round faster than I did before. The only ones competing against each other are the ones who actually compete in CrossFit competitions.
When young athletes see the value of competing against themselves, they stay focused on their own performance, and not on everyone else. Finding improvements is possible even in a loss.
Look for ways to encourage each other. Even if I finish last or am lifting a fraction of what someone else is lifting, I get encouragement because in CrossFit, the goal is for everyone to do the very best they can do. I get post-workout fist bumps from the coach, the strongest person in the class and the ones who can barely finish. We know we are all on the same team–the team of “I did my very best today.”
Hard work and a positive attitude can co-exist and produce results. Coaches and parents in youth sports must learn the pushing/encouraging balance. It’s okay to push and challenge players, but always, always, give them the encouragement to keep trying.
Your child can do more than they think they can. I never imagined that I’d be pushing myself as hard as I do. Sometimes I’m amazed that I have the persistence and fight to finish the workout.
The community of CrossFit has helped me push myself beyond what I ever thought I could. Your child should be challenged in their youth sports community too. Coaches and parents should always be cheering on the athlete’s progress, and coaxing them to do more, more than they ever thought they could.
Do you see these mindsets in your child’s youth sports experience? Are they learning to compete against themselves? Do they seek to always encourage teammates? Are they striving to keep doing more and keep pushing themselves?
Janis Meredith is a family coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.