Everyone wants to win. Heck – if you’re out there – better make it worthwhile, right? This is something that we understand as adults and parents. However, we also understand the importance of progress. It’s something that comes along with time and maturity. As youth athletes, it’s something that we obviously don’t yet comprehend. As such, it’s important for a parent to teach their youth athlete the benefits of getting better as opposed to just winning the game.
If done successfully, the young athlete will be much better than the one who just wins. Also, if they’re good at what they do – winning is something that will start coming naturally.
Playing the Right Way
It’s important that the young athlete understands how to play the game correctly. Whether we’re talking about golf or basketball, their play should represent the common foundations of the sport. In doing this, they’ll be better suited to learn some of the finer things about the sport itself. Let’s use an example. If you can’t dribble correctly, you won’t be able to perform the crossovers that all of the pros use.
If the young athlete tries to short-track their development, they’ll develop more than a few flaws in their game. They won’t be able to take it to the next level. Eventually, they’ll more than likely give up the sport. As parents we have to implement a family foundation of working hard and not taking shortcuts.
Character is Everything
Being gracious in defeat is probably the most important thing that a parent can teach their young athlete. They’re going to lose games. Not every team they’re on will be stacked with talent. If they’re a standout on these types of teams, it’s important for them to understand losing is a part of the game. There are some terrible things that can happen if they’re not mentally capable of losing. Cheating is the first thing that comes to mind.
While it’s important to build a competitive fire, there are some players who are willing to take it a step further and manipulate the game. When a player cheats – in virtually all team sports – other players can get hurt. At the very least, you’ll start breeding a level of petulance.
The Symbiotic Relationship
Losing is the biggest motivator. In fact, it’s not crazy to think that losing often is one of the most important things for a young and talented athlete. Of course – they have to possess the right mindset – specifically one that a coach or parent has instilled in them. If they understand that this is a part of the game, they’ll want to stop it from happening. They’ll want to get faster, stronger, and more adept at beating their opponent. As a parent, this is what you want out of your young athlete.
If they’re strong in both body and mind – you’ve got an incredible kid.
Losing is a bitter pill to swallow, but there can only be one team that wins any given game. It’s important for us as parents to emphasize that sports success is a marathon, not a sprint.