If you are a parent of a fall-sport athlete, then you may already be aware of how difficult it can be to balance everything. As a fall sport youth coach and also the parent of multiple children who participate in fall sports, I fully understand the challenges that come into play.
While there are so many great benefits to fall sports, there are also unique struggles that your athlete may face that other children do not have to experience. As a parent, it will be essential that you are aware of these challenges and also that you do everything you can to give your child the best during this season.
Fall is when many schools start for the new year so this is an added challenge that your fall athlete will have. The key to success with fall sports and education is to find the right balance. When you through in that most kids have an earlier bedtime, will want to hang out with friends and will have other responsibilities and tasks to attend to, it’s easy to see how things can get stressful when participating in fall sports.
Here are some tips to keep things balanced in your athlete’s life:
• Sit down and discuss the priorities. If school should always come first, then it’s essential that you explain the expectations to your child athlete as well as have clear guidelines on what will happen as a consequence.
• Plan ahead for your fall sporting events. Be sure your child also has a copy of game and practice schedules so that he always knows what is coming up and he can properly prepare.
• Make time for homework and plan meals according to the game and practice schedules of your athlete.
• Make bed time as early as possible and always provide nutritious meals. This is very important for a fall athlete who is also a student at the time. Food is fuel for the body and the brain.
• Help your child with organization for school, sports and other responsibilities. Give him the tools needed to stay organized throughout the season and then regularly check to be sure he is maintaining.
You should take an active role in your child’s life is he is to be a fall sport athlete while also tackling school and other responsibilities. Try to arrange at least one day off each week for your child where there is no school or schoolwork and no games or practices. Don’t make your child practice his sport at home on this day. Just give him time off to relax and get a break.
Look for signs of too much stress or lack of adequate sleep in your child. If they occur, schedules need to be adjusted to correct the problem. Remember that stress can be serious for anyone, especially a child, and can even lead to physical problems. Remember that sports are meant to be fun and provide necessary physical exercise. Don’t pressure your child too hard to be the team “star” or to believe that winning is the only measure of success. Don’t place the sport above other important aspects of life such as school, family, friends and well being. Avoid the win-at-all-costs mentality that will only harm your child in the long run.
Sports should be an addition to your child’s life, not their entire life. Balance in this will be essential to good health and wellbeing now as well as a healthy future for your child as he grows into adulthood. Give him the tools needed to build this foundation today and he will carry it with him for the rest of his life.
Fall sport youth coach
Parent of fall sport athletes