In this blog, I will be discussing the issue of activity participation for children and how it relates to parents in choosing which direction to pursue. I am certainly not an expert on child psychology but as a coach of young children, I have much experience dealing with parents and this particular issue. Be sure to share this post with your friends and family, as it relates to all involved or interested in activities for their children.
As a parent myself, I have always wanted the best for my children. I was always very involved with their activities and helped them do the best I could so they can achieve their goals. I made sure not to force them to do anything they did not want to do – with the exception of learning to swim- although they did enjoy that experience.
As a coach myself, and one who has been involved with sports most my life, I would love to see all children get involved with some type of sport activity. When I started my first tumbling business, both my sons attended the classes and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Since my program was strictly recreational, there was no pressure to succeed to any level. Besides, my boys didn’t listen to me anyway:) Does this sound familiar to any of you?
When I was young, gymnastics was not the first sport I got involved with. I actually never heard of gymnastics until I was in the 4th grade, when I was introduced to it. My first sport was baseball- I was on a youth league, my next sport was swimming and diving (the water was always too cold). Then I played football- I loved it and I was good at it. One problem, I was just too little to pursue it. Then I was introduced to gymnastics and it fit me like a glove. The rest is history.
The point of that scenario is that I believe it is important for children to experience different activities so they can explore and determine what their true desires and passions may be. We see this often in our programs where parents enroll their children based on seasons so they can participate in other sports or activities. This is healthy!! Of course, as a business owner, I do not like to see students drop from our classes, however, I understand how important it is that this occurs. When speaking with parents on this issue, I actually encourage they explore different activities.
Why is this so important? I have always believed that one needs to have a passion for something in order to be successful at it. Think about it – what type of effort will a person put into something they don’t truly enjoy? If you love what you are doing, it is easy to put forth effort, stay motivated, and set goals for future success.
We can’t expect young children to know exactly what they want to do and prepare for their future. They all have dreams, but reality isn’t part of their ability. For this reason, the parents are in control of what their children do and what activities they will be involved with. The more activities, the better.
I have seen many instances where a parent puts their child in an activity that is obviously not what the child prefers and actually sets the goals for that child to achieve. The reality is, the child will not likely achieve the expectations of that parent and may wind up hating the activity due to the lack of success. Coaches and instructors should never tell a parent how to raise their child and dictate what should be done, however, it is our responsibility to educate the parents on our industry and make suggestions that are positive and constructive for the future development of their child.
My parents were always very supportive of my gymnastics career. It was my idea to pursue and my internal motivation to be the best I could be. My parents once told me that they would support my decision if I wanted to quit gymnastics. They said it probably wouldn’t be the best decision to make, but they would support it.
Remember, the greatest athletes in the world become great because they have that passion, desire, and internal motivation to succeed. A person will only be great at what they love to do. Let’s find out what that is…