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Kids Sports: Preparing Your Child for Their First Sports Competition

There are many benefits for a kid who takes part in sports. They learn teamwork, communication, and how to overcome challenges among many other skills.

When it comes to kids sports, sometimes how you handle competition time will determine if they feel supported and confident enough to continue with their chosen sport afterward. There are countless ways to encourage success, but we have identified three simple ways for you to instill confidence in your young athlete on their big competition day.

Acknowledge Feelings

This is about both your kid’s feelings and yours. Of course, your kid is going to be nervous. It’s the first time they’ve ever done this and a lot of time and energy is put into preparing for sports events.

Acknowledging anything they may be feeling as valid will stop the feeling from taking over and becoming overwhelming. You want them to have a positive experience to encourage them to do this again, after all.

Your feelings also need to be kept under control. You’ve maybe put a lot of time and money into their sport, so you’re emotionally invested too. Obviously, you want them to succeed. However, avoid placing performance expectations on your kid as this can build up anxiety levels. Keeping calm and focused is key.

Keep Things Normal

In the lead-up to competition time, keep the routine the same. No new food and drink, no going for a walk in new shoes, or trying out a new warm-up.

Also, don’t keep the conversation focused on the competition. Your kid might want to talk it through, but even then they probably don’t want it to be the only topic of conversation.

No Incentives or Punishments

Don’t offer an incentive for winning, because it only puts more pressure on your kid to perform. It also only reinforces that you deserve something that makes you happy when you are successful, which isn’t true.

By the same token as well, don’t use sport as a punishment for failure. Telling your kid they need to do more laps or pushups because they failed at something will only cause resentment.

Remember: It’s Kids Sports

Keep in mind where you are and why you’re doing this: this isn’t the Olympics, it’s youth sports, and it’s for your kid. So, the focus should never be on only winning. Try and praise qualities like mastering a new skill they’ve been practicing, the effort they’ve been putting in, and excellent examples of teamwork.

The important part is you should all be having fun and if you aren’t, why not? Identifying how you can help ease any pressure that’s put on this sports competition can also help with how your kid processes potential failure. If they know there is room for failure, that it is not a negative, but a learning experience everyone faces, their relationship with failure will be healthier.

If you find yourself in need of support for an upcoming sporting event, you can find resources at EventConnect.

So, Have Fun!

Ultimately, kids sports should be fun and something you and your kid can share. Competitions can be nerve-wracking, but you can play a big part as a parent in how your kid processes these nerves.

It isn’t also just about the build-up either. If you have put the reassurances in place beforehand, how they process failure will also be pivotal for future youth sports tournaments, or whether they take part in team sports again at all.

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