Tips from sports psychologist K.C. Wilder ’89.
1) Find the Right Fit Instead of looking for the team with the winningest record, search for the team that’s the best fit for your child and for your family. College coaches are looking for outstanding student-athletes, not necessarily athletes on teams with the best record.
2) Don’t Specialize Let your child try many competitive and noncompetitive activities. Even if your child has a favorite sport, introduce him or her to as many new ones as possible. This will combat overuse injuries, potential burnout, and extreme expectations.
3) Practice Matters Kids need to understand that staying focused in practice is the best way to learn the skills they’ll need at game time. Even boring, repetitive drills serve a purpose.
4) Internalize Motivation Encourage your child to play for the pure joy of playing, not for a trophy. Athletes who have a passion for their sport are the ones who achieve success in the long run.
5) Be a Positive Role Model Children who see their parents leading a healthy, active life engaged in activities that make them happy, excited, and confident will also stay active and play sports for fun.