Kids and Sports: Motivating Without Discouraging
3 mins read

Kids and Sports: Motivating Without Discouraging

Where do parents go wrong with helping their kids in sports?

What started out as a nice family baseball game in the backyard, turned into a crying frustrating mess for both my son and husband. Well, my son did the crying, but both were very frustrated.

My husband was trying to motivate and help Nicholas who has been getting up to bat afraid of the ball. But Nicholas wasn’t feeling encouraged or motivated. He was still showing that he was scared by not swinging at the ball, and was stepping away from the ball when he should be stepping into the ball. It was driving my husband crazy.

Even our two year old noticed the tension, and looked at me and said “Uh oh…”

Nicholas loves sports. Plays them all. My first thought is maybe baseball is just not for him, and my husband is being too hard on him. My husband’s point is that just because something is hard for Nicholas, and isn’t coming naturally to him, does not mean that he should give up. I understood both sides.

How do you encourage and give your child confidence without being too aggressive? You want them to give it all they have, and learn to not give up just because something is hard. But you also don’t want to forget that they are just KIDS, and sports are supposed to be fun first. Even professional athletes say how lucky they are to do what they love and how much fun they have. Was it always fun for them? Or did they have a hard coach/parent that pushed them when time was hard for them.

I’m not saying my child is going to make it to a higher level in sports. But where do you draw the line between motivating your kids and being too hard on them in sports?

When I was asking my friends and family for advice on what to do with Nicholas, I realized that a lot of parents go through the same thing. Some have choose to have their child stick with it for the season, but not sign them up again for the next season.

My sister-in-law and her husband have worked with their son. They make it a point to talk to him every night after his baseball games. They offer him encouraging words and advice, praise him for his improvements, and give him a chance to talk about what he thought of the game. Giving him that “safe place” at home has helped him to now look forward to his games, and feel motivated to keep playing.

Finding that “safe place” for my son and husband to talk about both their feelings on baseball is what I think will help both their frustrations.

I think it is different for every child to know how far they can be pushed, and when we need to listen to our kids, and step back and let them decide what they want to do. This is just another reason why parenting is soooooo hard. And I for one have not figured anything out.

As far as Nicholas and my husband’s baseball game goes…. to be continued as we still have another month left in the season.
Anyone experience the same thing with their son or daughter? Let me know any advice you have.

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