In the context of increasing childhood obesity, the benefits of exercise to the body are obvious. Children today need more exercise, teamwork or exercise is a good way to stay healthy. Children face physical risks when exercising, and for good reason. As a country, we are experiencing an epidemic of sports-related injuries to the knee (football and track), shoulder (tennis and baseball), and head (football). The psychological risks and benefits associated with youth sports have been less discussed.
While teaching sports sociology at Northwestern University (Big Ten School, Division 1), I studied and listened to hundreds of students. Parents of athletes of all ages must consider the six risks and six benefits to helping their children navigate the world of sports.
Psychological Risks of Youth Sports.
Self-esteem is related to athletic performance
Your child as a person should not be closely related to the ability to home runs or land. If so, this is a framework for a guaranteed sense of failure and inferiority complex. They feel good when they win, but in the long run, how they deal with failure determines their character. Remind your athlete kids that in their book, even if they lose, they will always be the winner.
Coaches who demoralize and bully
There are more good trainers than harmful trainers, but all trainers are expected to consider that your child’s psychological interests are naive. The win-win mentality often afflicts young athletes. Demean the child’s behavior. Is the coach screaming and angry during the game? Call the players and humiliate them? The best coaches are motivated by positive reinforcement and role models, not harassment and intimidation.
The misunderstanding that sports provide college scholarships.
Too many parents think their children are eligible for college scholarships 1. It’s like playing the lottery-don’t believe it. Putting all your eggs in a sports basket is wrong, and it is dangerous to your child’s emotional health. In addition to the statistical possibility, there is a high probability that the athlete will be seriously injured or just burned. Make sure your athletes have other interests and don’t think exercise is the only way to succeed.
Tensions with over-invested parents
Did you say “we won” after a child’s game or game? Don’t do that. Too many parents invest too much in their children’s sports activities, which may lead to unconscious behaviors that harm young athletes. I see parents scolding and scolding their children for not scoring goals or winning games. Love and affection should never be associated with sports performance. In fact, when children perform poorly, they need it more.
Unhealthy execution pressure
Sports psychologists are in great demand because parents, coaches, teams, and schools put undue pressure on young athletes to perform well every time they step on the court, court, or track. Remember, these are children, not professional athletes. As the mother of five competitive tennis players, I understand the tendency to demand more, but children are children. Sometimes they skip any service just for the cause, and sometimes they seem destined to be great. Keep your eyes open and understand that this is just a game.
Lack of superiority
Our society’s obsession with sports has made athletes and track and field more important, which can make young athletes excessively self-esteem. There are too many successful athletes who think they are beyond the law or school standards. Parents should watch for signs of lack of humility and empathy in their young athletes. Our job is to ensure that sports do not expose the worst of our children.
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