Youth sports are an important learning experience for young athletes. In victory or defeat, important lessons can be gleaned through the experience of playing the game. Whether a game is memorable because an athlete beat a personal best record or took a bad penalty late in a game, individual games are often used as a point of emphasis for later play by the participants.
In order to reinforce this idea, family members can take a more active role in the child’s life, encouraging them when they fail and raising them up when they succeed. One type of family member that can do this without needing to worry about parental responsibilities is a grandparent.
Parents are often expected to keep a firm but encouraging hand on their young charges, ensuring that they grow up correctly. Grandparents, on the other hand, are typically thought of as the family member who spoils the children (in a good way), acting in a more fun role than parents. Because of this, grandparents are perfectly positioned to advise young athletes when it comes to youth sports.
One piece of advice grandparents can give is that all athletes win and lose games. Indeed, the best basketball players are successful around 50 percent of the time, and the greatest baseball hitters strike out 65 percent of the time. Teaching this at an early age can be important for a young athlete’s growth and maturity.
Another way for a grandparent to help a young athlete is to bond with a coach. If a grandparent finds their grandchild’s coach worthy of respect and forms a friendship with them, their grandchild may in turn respect their coach’s wishes and decisions more since they are held in a position of high esteem by somebody the child themselves holds in high esteem.
Grandparents can also help their young family members deal with pressure. When it becomes apparent that a grandchild is dealing with a lot of stress over sports, the grandparent can remind the young athlete that losing or performing badly isn’t the end of the world; what’s most important is doing one’s best.
An additional way that a grandparent can help a young athlete is by teaching them teamwork. Children are often more concerned with scoring themselves than working as a team, so teaching how important teamwork is to a grandchild at a young age can properly prepare them for later life in sports, where games cannot be won without it. Doing activities that require teamwork outside of sports can help with this.
A final way that grandparents can help young athletes is teaching them to play by the rules. Nobody likes a cheater, and it is important to impart that on children at a young age. Once a young athlete learns the importance of sportsmanship and honorable play, they will be on their way to being a better athlete and person.
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