Young Athletes’ Motivation For Playing Sports
A young athlete writes:
“My father made me start taekwondo when I was still very young. I am tired of the injuries and with the fact that they don’t care if I am hurt or not. I still like the sport but I am too stressed to do it and I am also bored of doing it.”
“I recently started downhill riding and I am really enjoying it and my father sees that and he immediately wanted to clarify that downhill would just be a hobby and taekwondo was the serious deal. Taekwondo also pushes me away from my social life and friends since I always have to be out of town to train and I am really envious of other teens my age who can go out every Saturday and have fun while I am either training or too tired to do anything.”
“It has come to the point where my father actually prioritizes taekwondo over school and it’s really getting to me. I know that he won’t let me quit and if he does he would never see me the same way. What should I do?”
It’s common for parents to become overly invested in their children’s sports careers.
In this case, the boy’s father has been coaching him since he was a child, which puts pressures on young athletes that other children may not have to go through.
Having a parent who is also a coach can increase the pressure on kids to succeed, which can negatively affect confidence.
It sounds like the bigger problem is that this boy is no longer having fun participating in the sport.
This young athlete needs to be open and honest with his father by telling him that the pressure is making the sport more of a chore and job-like.
It’s important that the athlete be clear that he prefer downhill riding. The athlete is likely nervous about talking to his dad out of his fear of disappointing him.
As sports parents, you should remember that if your child is not enjoying their sport, they will not receive most of the benefits the sport could give them:
- Increased confidence
- A positive work ethic
- The ability to work in a team setting
- High self-esteem
Our job as sports parents is to look into your children’s true motivation for playing the sport.
Some kids like the social aspect of sports the most, some like the competition. Others may appreciate the overall benefits of being physically active.
Sports parents should focus on their kids’ true motivation for playing the sport.
In this case, it seems like the child’s only motivation at the present time is to please the parent. This is never an optimal situation, and will most likely cause the young athlete to quit or not want to train or complete.
As a parent, you must either remove the pressure and allow him to re-discover his love for the sport, or allow him to participate in whatever sport he chooses.
If you want your kids to benefit from sports, they must be allowed to have choices and participate for the right reasons!
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