Help your child perform like a champion

By Janis Meredith | Posted 9/15/2014

Let’s face it. Most of us will not have kids who will be NCAA Division I, professional or Olympic athletes. 

But our athletes will have their own opportunities to be champions as they conquer challenges. The same characteristics we see in televised champions can be present in your child, helping him to achieve his own personal best.

How can you help your child grow a champion spirit?

Help him set his eyes on something bigger – bigger than tomorrow’s practice, bigger than this week’s game. Help your child understand that if he really wants to be a champion, he has to have a vision and play for something bigger than today.​

Work with your child in setting goals that will maintain motivation. Champion athletes work hard to get better every day and goals give them a plan to measure their progress and mark their successes.

Stress to your young athlete the importance of staying positive. That means looking for small – as well as big – victories and refusing to dwell on mistakes. There is always hope for the amazing to happen.

Help your child learn to focus on the task at hand. It’s important that athletes concentrate on what they can control, looking for solutions to their problems.

Your young athlete will have to learn discipline. He may not like getting up early or putting in extra time, but he needs to be self-disciplined to achieve his goals.

Talk to your child about the importance of sacrifice. He will have to make some in order to reach his dream.

Provide coaches and mentors for your athlete. He will need supporters to push him when he wants to quit. Without support and accountability, dreams can dissolve.

Remind your child that champions often lose more than they win, but it’s their determination that keeps them moving forward when others quit. And when that happens, they can eventually win.

When your child wants to quit, remind him that champions may feel like quitting, but they must learn to push through.

Encourage your child to appreciate the spirit of competition by respecting opponents and encouraging fellow athletes. This past week, I saw losers congratulate winners, winners hug losers and teammates support each other, even while competing against each other.

Your child can be a champion

There are many moments in sports that move me. Not just by athletes who win, but by athletes who show us what can happen when we work hard, persist, sacrifice and hang on to our dreams.

Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach's wife, writes a sports parenting blog called JBM Thinks. She authored the Sports Parenting Survival Guide Series and has recently launched a podcasting series for sports parents.You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.