Consider this my first mobile post published on Maternal Media. I’m reporting live from a sports field in middle America, but I imagine this same scene is unfolding across the country.
Sunday youth football league.
Here are a few top-of-mind reminders for everyone out there who knows and loves youth athletes.
1. Some of these kids will leave their sports careers behind by the time they exit grade school. If you, as a parent or coach, could predetermine whether or not a kid’s love of the game would end this year/this game/this play, would you behave any differently?
2. Yes, your job is to teach kids the game. But the truly great mentors teach kids so much more about sports that can be applied off the field.
3. It feels AMAZING when your kid makes the big play. Big plays come and go. Character continues on. So celebrate the little things – helping an opposing player up, constantly hustling, being a leader when times are tough – as much as the big, obvious accomplishments.
4. Don’t let a game make or break your mood. How you react to wins and losses is how your kid will react to triumphs and adversities throughout their formative years.
5. Don’t let a referee’s action or inaction be the excuse for flipping your sh*t. Do you have a clue as to what those guys get paid? Trust me, they don’t take on this role for the money or prestige. They are human and, as such, will make mistakes.
6. No matter what mom or dad yells from the sidelines, kids will only play as hard as their hearts are into it. No amount of yelling or chest thumping will motivate them. Quite the contrary, your huge smile and a simple thumbs up will mean more to him than you know…because…amazingly…
7. Your kid only wants to make you and his coach happy. While you worry about mortgage payments and getting through your work week, your son’s list of priorities is much simpler…but no less important.
8. When the last whistle is blown, hug your child and tell him how extremely proud you are of his effort. Do this no matter if he scores the game-winning touchdown or does something that costs his team the game. Believe me, he knows if he screwed up. You don’t need to belabor the point.
9. If your child looks like he’s not having any fun, remind him that life is more than touchdowns and tackles. If your child looks like he’s having a blast, never forget to remind him to be thankful for this special time in his life.
10. Watch the movie Rudy. Keep perspective.
Written by Heidi Woodard