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How to Help Your Overly Competitive Child in Youth Sports

     If you have an athlete-child, one who is in the sport because they really want to to win, there's a very good chance that at times they are overly competitive, meaning they take themselves and the game way too seriously.

Obviously, being competitive as an athlete is necessary and a very good thing. It's okay that your kids play very hard, take the game seriously, and hate losing. But often overly competitive kids suffer from one very disparaging symptom: they are way too hard on themselves.

If your child has this symptom, then you have felt its affects. It's hard to watch your kid beat up on himself when he is not happy with his performance.

There's not a whole lot you can do to keep your child from suffering with this symptom. But there are definitely some things you should not do.

Do not force consoling hugs on your child after the "bad" game. I've tried it only to be brushed off. Nothing personal, Mom and Dad. It's not you the kid is rejecting; they are just not in a real lovin' mood.

Do not force verbal encouragement on your child immediately following the "bad" game. A very competitive child may not be receptive when he is upset about his performance. It's best to let him work through his frustration alone, and wait for awhile on the positive feedback.Sometimes the best thing you can do as your kids stew over their mistakes is let them cool down, safely vent, and put it behind them.

Do not point out the obvious right after the game. "You weren't moving your feet fast enough." "You weren't keeping your eye on the ball." "Did you not see that guy open in the end zone?" Thank you, Captain Obvious. Give your kids some credit; chances are pretty good, especially if they are teenagers,that they already know what they did wrong. And if they don't, there will come a time when they may ask for your help; until then let their coach do the critiquing.

Do not ignore the issue altogether. Sooner or later, a discussion about your child's tendency to be too hard on himself will be appropriate. Take advantage of those moments when your child is in a receptive mood or when he brings up the subject of his frustration. Encourage him to have short-term memory when it comes to his mistakes; learning to put errors behind him right away is a learned art but one he must master if he is to be a successful athlete. Remind him that all athletes go through slumps--whether it's hitting a softball, making baskets, completing football passes, or making volleyball passes. True athletes fight through those slumps and come out stronger because of them. And make available to them opportunities for improvement, whether it's sending them to specialized camps and classes or just going through drills with them yourself.

The secret to your overly competitive child is channeling, not curing. You want your athlete-child to be competitive, but instead of beating himself up when he struggles, he must learn to work harder to improve.

Where does that leave us parents? Our job is to listen, support, cheer, challenge, and sometimes just be willing to back off.

Article Source:

For more tips on how to help your child be a winner in sports, visit JBM Thinks Sportsparenting

Posted on 2013-04-04, By: *

* Click on the author's name to view their profile and articles!!!

Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author,

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