Is this the year that you sign up your child for pop warner or flag football? If you are a first-time sports parent, there are a few very important things you need to know, things that you should be looking for as your child plays.
The main goal should be fun.
The main goal of sports for 3 to 6-year-olds is to have fun. In the end, if they have fun, they will come back. Remember, parents, it is just a game; it should be fun! Yes, they can learn about playing as a team and getting along with others, but don’t be focused on your child becoming the next college superstar (or even high school superstar) at this age. Encourage your kids to have fun and support them regardless of performance.
Your child should be introduced to skills.
At the preschool and early elementary stages, coaches should focus on what the kids know and can do NOW, not what they want the child to know or do in 10 years. If your child gets two to three new skills out of their experience, that is awesome.
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Drills should be simple because your child is still mastering basic motor learning skills. More complex drills will come as they grow. Take time to pay with them at home so they can practice the skills they are learning in a fun, relaxed environment.
Forget about the score.
When your child is this young, the end result of the game is not important. You should be much more interested in your child learning fundamentals than the results on the scoreboard.
Focus on the Positive.
Don’t tell them what they did wrong, tell them what they did right and, even more important, ask how much they enjoyed it. Cheering for effort and attitude will help keep the fun in it. At this age, making it fun is important, because that will keep your child coming back for more.
Keep in mind the big picture.
You are at the beginning of a wonderful and exciting journey in youth sports. Your main job is to always keep in mind the “big picture” and remember it’s the kids’ game, so be supportive, while making sure the kids have some ownership in their sport.
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When your children are playing sports at this young age, your job is the easiest it will ever be as a sports parent. If your child learns something about the sport, has fun and wants to come back and play again, then it was a successful season, and it just may lay a foundation of love for sports that will encourage your child to keep playing for many years.
Janis Meredith is a family coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.