When your kids are athletic, it can be easy to jump right into protective parent mode. You want your children to be safe while they're participating in the sports they love, right? Unfortunately, too much emphasis on safety for your athletic children might have the opposite effect that you want it to. Rather than bolstering their knowledge and passion for playing their sport right, it may discourage them from playing at all.
How do you balance talks about safety with encouragement for your athletic kids? Here are a few tips to help you out.
Prepare Them For the Physical Demands of SportsBefore engaging in any kind of athletic activity, it's important to make sure your children understand the physical demands it will make on their bodies. And that begins by letting your kids know that they won't be the only ones on the field. Considering that there are almost 2.5 million pickleball players worldwide, it's not a far reach to say the number of people playing sports is astronomical. Given that information, it's important for your children to know that the other players will need to prepare themselves in much the same way. And the first step is to get a sports physical. Depending on which sport your child plays, the requirements of this physical may differ. But the end goal remains the same: to ensure your child is physically ready to take on the process of training for and then playing the sport of their choice. Your doctor can also help explain some of the most common injuries associated with the sport your child chooses and how best to avoid them. Combined with proper coaching, this can help prepare your children for the physical demands of their sport.
Make an Investment in Their EquipmentPart of athletic safety lies in purchasing the right equipment. And when there are more than 3 million open wounds reported annually in the U.S., making sure your children have the right safety equipment for their sport is paramount. But instead of beguiling them with all of the terrible things that could happen if they don't wear their knee pads or helmets, make an effort to invest yourself in their sport. Investing yourself personally in helping your child pick out their sports equipment can not only help you make sure they're safe, but it can also show your children that you've taken an interest in something they're passionate about. When you make the effort to let your kids know that you're invested in their passion for more reasons than just keeping them safe, it might actually energize them even more to stay safe while they play their sport.
Make Sure They Know Not to Tough it OutOne of the most detrimental things an athlete can do for their health is to push through pain or an injury. Not only can it affect their performance in the moment, but it could also effectively ruin their chances of playing another sport ever again. You kids probably have no problem telling you when they're too tired to cut the grass or when they're too hungry to do chores. The same principle should apply to their sport when they think they've sustained an injury. If a knee is twinging when they run or they think they pulled a muscle, it's important to let them know it's better to rest. Even if your child is one of the 11 million youth fishing participants, they won't be able to throw a perfect cast if their shoulder hurts. Young athletes may seem more resilient than their older counterparts, but youth doesn't determine whether someone will bounce back from an injury or not. Make sure your child knows that you and their coach will support them if they feel they're unable to play because of an injury or any kind of physical discomfort. When your kids know how to take care of their bodies and what their upper limits are, they'll be able to play better and for longer in the future.
Children shouldn't feel afraid to play sports. By making sure they understand the physical demands of their sport, investing in their equipment, and making sure they know their limits, you can help promote athletic safety while encouraging your child to follow their passion.
Author: Devin Stabley-Conde
Devin is a writer and an avid reader. When she isn't lost in a book or writing, she's busy in the kitchen trying to perfect her slow cooker recipes. You can find her poetry published in The Adirondack Review and Cartridge Lit.