It is becoming more and more common to witness unfortunate scenes that show us behavior out of place by parents towards referees, coaches and even athletes from rival teams. These are fathers and mothers who have totally forgotten what their true role is: which is cheering from the stands; If they do not harm the effort of your child and of his teammates.In general terms, it is estimated that approximately 75% of boys and girls who practice some sport end up leaving it between the ages of 12 and 13. There are many reasons: some leave because of the pressure of their own parents, but most give in because they begin to feel that the level of demand is beginning to be too high and they don’t find it as fun as it used to be.Deep down, at such young ages, the practice of sport must be, above all, an activity that entertains, an activity of enjoyment. If the child does not have a good time, they will lose all interest. We can find that, due to a change of coach, team change, playing ability, age or simply due to a thousand experiences that the boy or the girl has been able to live, that activity that until now was so satisfying to our son, now he no longer does. And our role as parents is to figure out how to motivate them.
5 basic recommendations in the search for motivation
We are aware of the importance of our children playing sports. For various reasons: because of the benefits it entails for their health and for their body and mental development, because it is a fantastic socializing tool, because if the habit is created it will be easier for them to continue practicing sports when they are older, etc. For this reason, it is important that, as soon as we detect the first signs of demotivation in our child (reluctance to attend training sessions or games, excuses, lack of commitment, etc.), we act.Whatever the basic problem that our son has regarding the sport he practices, we can follow this small 5-step guide::
- Talk to our son. The goal is to discover what your concern is: the coach, the team, the sport itself ..
- Find words that will motivate your child depending on their age. We must inquire into what the objectives are and for what sport they practice. Also taking into account the age of the child, are motivations are changing:
- From 8 to 11 years, the motivations are usually oriented towards improvement and social approval.
- From 11 to 13 years old, the motivation is mainly oriented towards competition.
- From 13 to 17 years old, motivation is oriented towards competence and personal improvement.
- Help you define and set a recurring goal. This can be in training or in a game. It will help you focus on a specific task and its subsequent evaluation. We must bear in mind that, at these ages, it is also important to focus on personal improvement goals. We can set goals to overcome an "own" mark in training, for example.
- Teach him to value every effort made, every goal exceeded. So your child will see and enjoy their development and improvement, promoting their motivation and enthusiasm.
- And finally, never demand it. That task falls to the coach. Your role as a father or mother is to support, understand and value him. The rest is up to the coach. This will help your child enjoy the sport, the team and your participation much more.
Children's sports motivation
As a general rule, boys and girls do not know how to manage emotions well and it is especially important to teach them. It is essential that they learn to identify, manage and transform them into positive emotions. In this case, it is when the role of the coach is very important, since he is the one who is going to deal more directly with the situations that are going to provoke these emotions. The ones that work best are:
- Shame. A very common emotion that can block the child, generating stress and discomfort. One way to work on it is to reduce the pressure on the focus of attention or the importance (both in the success and in the failure of their performance), reducing the reaction shown by their environment (the coach, the whole team and, of course, the parents) .
- Fear. It can be about fear of retaliation, not succeeding, frustration, etc. And it can lead to blockage, avoidance, withdrawal or mistrust. It is especially relevant in value that is attributed to the error. The child must be taught to assume the error as something normal, without assuming a great responsibility if he or she commits it. You must learn it as a natural part of the learning and development process. And, above all, you must understand that it is better to make mistakes or not to try, so that the fear of error leads to the desire to improve.
- Rage. Not only does it cause them to be less concentrated, but it also makes you lose sight of the objective. Therefore, it is important to teach the child to manage anger. Conflict solution techniques, dissociated observation of the situation and occupying perceptual positions are very useful.
In short, the keys are:
- Empathise with the boy or girl.
- Never despise what they feel.
- Always keep calm.
- And give them time to reflect without ever being anxious.
We hope that these tips are useful to you and think that, the most important thing, above all, is that you enjoy sport with your children