How Do You Help Young Athletes Whose Dreams in Sports are Undermined by Others’ Jealousy?
In the case of Lela’s son, Frank, it’s a big challenge.
Frank is a high school student and Olympic-caliber athlete in track. He is ranked nationally for his event and age group.
Frank’s problem: He lives in a very small town where there’s only one track coach, a coach whose son also takes part in track. Others are jealous of Frank’s talents and his high goals in sports.
The track coach tries to derail Frank’s efforts to become an Olympic athlete, refusing to give him extra gym time to work out. The coach told him he should simply focus on high school sports, rather than follow his dream of training for the Olympics.
What’s more, the basketball and football coaches in this small town think they own this young man’s talent. They’re constantly pressuring him to play on their teams instead of following his dream. They want to use his talent to help their teams succeed.
How can sports parents deal with such a dilemma?
Lela and other sports parents should encourage their young athletes to follow their dreams.
Lela needs to help her son ignore the distractions created by others’ jealousy and focus on doing what he loves. That means training, competing and continuing to improve.
Lela needs to help Frank tune out the worries created by others’ opposition to his dream. He needs to focus on the tasks he needs to achieve his goals.
An athlete’s dreams can quickly sink when non-believers beat him up. His confidence can take a hit.
In addition, if Frank doesn’t want to play football or basketball, he should not play. His talent is his own, not his small town’s.
Successful athletes are able to keep their goals and dreams alive in the face of criticism from others. Sometimes an athlete will give in to the pressure he feels from parents, coaches, and friends. In this case, the athlete competes to satisfy others instead of following his dreams.
Parents need to ensure their kids take part in sports for the right reasons.
Young athletes should be genuinely self-motivated to practice and compete in sports.
Award winning parenting writer Lisa Cohn and Youth Sports Psychology expert Dr. Patrick Cohn are co-founders of The Ultimate Sports Parent.
Pick up their free e-book:
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The Confident Sports Kid program is actually two programs: one that teaches sports parents how to boost their kids’ confidence, and another that teaches young athletes age 8 to 12 how to improve their self talk, avoid negative thinking, overcome expectations that limit confidence, and much more.
What are parents and coaches saying?
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