One way that parents could help their children develop is by engaging them in sports. The positive impact of this activity in a child’s or teen’s life is massive. Sports not only address physical health. They also encompass an athlete’s mental health and life skills.
However, a child or teenager who is only starting to pick a sport may have some apprehensions. Parents should learn how to address these fears to help their children cope. Here are some of the most common fears related to sports. There are also strategies for parents to help their children overcome these fears.
Fear of Getting Hurt
Some children or teens do not want to get involved in sports because they fear getting injured. Injuries in sports range from the simplest ones to more serious cases. Most of the time, first-aid and rest can address simple injuries. In cases of a strong collision or a bad fall, facial trauma or avulsed teeth may occur. It’s good to assure your child that doctors, such as a maxillofacial surgeon, can help to correct injuries, even in rare incidences like these.
The idea of pain, whether big or small, may prevent your young ones from engaging in sports. The best thing that you can do is to train them to have pre-game and pre-play routines. In doing so, they can prepare their body and mind for the game. It is not enough that their bodies are strong. A mind ready to accept that there is a degree of pain involved in games would be able to deal with it better. Also, make sure to provide them with some sports safety gear, such as helmets or knee pads.
Sports help to boost the self-esteem of athletes. The knowledge that they have skills fit to contribute to winning a game feels good. However, for amateur athletes, performance anxiety may arise. They may worry that they would disappoint their parents, teammates, or their coach.
The best thing to ease this fear is to offer reassurance. Communicate with them that the effort is more important than the outcome. As long as they did their best, then they should be proud of their performance. You may also teach them some soothing techniques. Some examples are a mantra, deep breathing, or visualization.
Some people revel in the sound of a cheering crowd. It is also easy for them to tune out from less cheerful ones. The applause and the jeers do not make any difference for them. However, some people freeze upon the thought of being the center of attention. Stage fright does not only happen in stage performances. It happens in sports, too.
One strategy that even elite athletes use to step up their game in front of a crowd is to have an alter ego. In simple terms, an alter ego is a different and more aggressive version of the athlete. Ask your young athlete if they want to have one. Then, help them develop this game-day personality. They would learn to separate themselves from distractions, even with a big crowd.
Some sports have more players of one gender than the other. However, it does not mean that it is exclusive for males or females. Your child may find an interest in a sport that has more players of their opposite gender. This may help them dispel their fear of getting ridiculed.
If you see your child has a genuine interest in this sport, encourage them to continue. You may research some successful athletes in this field that is of the same gender as your child. Show them to your child for them to realize that they can be successful in this sport as well. It is also a good opportunity to teach your child about gender equality.
Fear of Losing
For children and teens, a game or a sport is about winning. Thus, they equate losing to being a failure. They may not engage in sports because they are afraid to lose.
Dealing with this fear is ripe with teaching moments. You can make them realize that a sport is more than the outcome. It is about the things that you gain along the way. You may talk about sportsmanship, camaraderie, determination, and discipline, among many others. Thus, they would know that losing or winning is only a part of the sport they have chosen.
Engaging in sports will allow your child to reap many benefits out it. Having some fears at the beginning is only natural. It is best to walk with your child as they cope with these apprehensions until they overcome.