We are quickly approaching that time of year again - the start of your child’s little league season. Whether it is your child’s first season playing T-Ball, or their 3rd season playing kid-pitch, there is still preparation that needs to be done...Parents, I'm talking to you!Your son or daughter is ready to play, but are YOU ready? Most kids don’t experience the feeling of anxiety or panic. Kid’s simply know that they get to go play on a field, be part of a team with a bunch of other kids and have fun. We, as parents, need a bit more preparation than our kids as we can, and often do, experience those feelings of anxiety or panic. “What if’s” start swirling around in our heads when we picture our kids on the field.
"What color pants do they need?”
“Did we get the right socks?”
“Did we get the right color socks?”
“Is the bat too big? Or, not big enough?”
“Where do we go to meet the coach?”
Although these are all such small details in the big scheme of things, little things do add up! Here are some of the bigger ones that weigh parents down the most and the ones we are going to focus on today.….
“Is my kid good enough?”
“Will my child look terrible on the field?”
“Will my child be “THAT KID”?”
Understand one, simple, incredibly important fact...your child isn’t worried about these things!
Again - YOUR CHILD IS NOT WORRIED ABOUT THESE THINGS!
You know what they are worried about? Snacks!
They aren’t worried about their performance, their statistics, situational plays on the field, or even getting the game ball. They just know they are going to their game...with their friends...to play.
To help parents get through this time of year, I have compiled my favorite athletic parenting tips:
Tip #1 - First and foremost, focus on the fact that your child is having fun. Enjoy that and soak up every moment watching your child have a blast on field with other kids. They will never be this age age or at this skill level again. This moment is priceless - snap a million photos!
Tip #2 - Enjoy this mini parenting break! Take this time to relish in the fact that you don’t have to be on your feet constantly caring to your child in this moment. You get to see your child from a completely different perspective and appreciate them for who they are at this point in their life. Your coach has got this! While we appreciate volunteers, it is completely okay to sit back and just be a spectator.
Tip #3 - Sit back in your chair with a few snacks in hand and don’t stress about their athletic ability. Sure, he/she tripped on their shoelaces while running to first base or is wearing their glove on the wrong hand, but hey, they have a smile on their face! Your son or daughter is not going to go pro based on their performance here in this moment. They will not lose out on a college scholarship if they make an error, or if they swing at a pitch well over their head.
Tip #4 - Please understand that they are still growing and developing, both mentally and physically, and are not even close to performing at the their full potential. Get involved and support their development by spending 10 - 15 minutes with them where they are moving and using their motor skills - moving their legs in all directions, moving their arms, working hand-eye coordination, etc. These are movements that I focus on when working with youth athletes during instructional sessions. Teaching your child not just to move, but move with purpose while having fun, is the best way you can help start them on the right path. To help with this, I have posted simple drills (example below) and “games” you can play with your child under the training section of the RAW MVMT website.
Again, relax and enjoy! You and your child will both do great! If you have any questions, please reach out to me directly or connect with myself and with other parents experiencing the same jitters by joining our Facebook Group “RAW MVMT ATHLETES.” This is a great community of parents just like you who want to help you and your young athlete succeed.