I saw this on Facebook, and it made me think. I thought maybe this would resonate with some of you parents as well.
School Sports, the Positive and the Negative
Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! We finally have decent weather and I was able to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. As I watched my kids play in the yard, I thought about what sports they would participate in when they reached Jr. High and High school.
It made me think back to my own High school career and the sports that I participated in. I ran cross country and played softball. I was the top runner for the girls on our cross country team. When I look back, I laugh because my biggest motivation was fear. That’s right, I was afraid of coming in last. So, I made sure I didn’t. It never occurred to me that I would come in first, until it happened.
That’s when I felt the pressure to perform. Now, that I had achieved first place the fear of coming in last was replaced by the fear of someone else taking first place.
I wonder if all teens feel this way or it was just my particular makeup. As I look back I remember the anxiety I felt and how I pushed myself. How I would only eat one piece of toast before an invitational so that I wouldn’t be weighed down with excess food.
I remember the second year I didn’t go out for the team. I kept asking myself; did I have fun? Was all the pressure worth it? I had answered no, until the cross country coach came knocking on my door. He wanted me to run. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to and I hadn’t trained with the team, but I was so flattered that he thought I was good enough that I joined the team again. My second year wasn’t quite as stellar as my first year to say the least. 🙂
I realize now, why it wasn’t. Aside from the fact that I missed the first two weeks of training, I wasn’t committed to it. I was doing it for the wrong reason. I didn’t want to disappoint the coach.
I should have been participating because I wanted to run. I should have been doing it just for the sheer joy of running. It shouldn’t have mattered where I placed. That’s the main reason any kid should get involved in a sport, just because they like it.
Being involved in sports does have a positive effect on kids. In fact, a Canadian Council for Social Development study showed that participating in structured recreation positively influenced young people’s physical and social development, as well as their civic behavior and skills.
A 2003 Sport Canada survey of 1005 Canadian youth, aged 12 to 21, found that their involvement in sports:
Improved their health (99 per cent);
Helped them make friends (87 per cent);
Improved their feelings about themselves (85 per cent);
Helped them succeed at school (58 per cent);
Helped them become more active with their family (54 per cent).
****I got these statistics from this site. Click here for more information. http://www.letkidsplay.ca/docs/LKPPositiveImpactSports.pdf
However, I feel very strongly that it should be the child’s choice. They have to participate because they want to, or they won’t enjoy it. And they probably won’t excel in that sport. They may even feel resentful because they were pushed into it.
I’ve also found that when a coach has his/her own agenda they can pressure kids too much. An example of this is Laura Yochelson, who’s cross country coach’s obsession with empty calories led her down the road to Anorexia Nervosa. Click here to read her interview. https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/please-welcome-back-laura-yochelson-anorexia-nervosa-survivor/
So when our kids get involved with sports lets make sure it’s for the right reason. Let’s make sure it’s what they really want to do and we need to stay involved. We need to make sure the coach is coaching to benefit the kids and not pursuing his own agenda. Thanks so much for stopping by today! Leave a comment and share some of your experiences! I’d love to hear from you!