Youth Sports: A Parent’s Guide
This book provides information designed to encourage and equip parents of young athletes as they navigate the complex culture of today’s youth sports. Through the use of anecdotes, relevant information and research this guide provides insight, as well as tools for navigating the challenges of youth sports parenting. As a result, parents are empowered to confidently enjoy their child’s experience, and participate appropriately in cooperation with their young athlete. The quality of the journey is enhanced, and the stage is set for maximum benefit for the athlete.
A successful sports experience is defined as having lasting value for the young athlete beyond participation. Any athlete, regardless of physical ability can be successful by this standard. The benefits of this success include relationship building, social skills, leadership skills, character development, and an enjoyment of lifelong sports activity, including the value of physical fitness.
This book is not a guide for the parent seeking to facilitate their child reaching the pinnacle of athletic performance. It is a guide for parents in pursuit of maximizing youth sports experiences for their child which not only include athletic development, but life skills as well.
The book addresses common questions such as when to begin organized sports, which sports best fit your child, the consideration of specialization versus sampling multiple sports, and the social impact surrounding sports participation. For context, there is a concise chronological history of youth sports, marking its evolution. Information on topics such as community sports leagues vs school leagues, school team selections (aka “cuts”), and winning and losing is provided. There is guidance about relating to and communicating with coaches.
It is written from the author’s unique perspective developed through the multiple roles experienced: as a young athlete through professional school, as a parent of young athletes--all of whom participated at the highest levels-- as a coach for young athletes, and as an athletic administrator for a PreK-6 school.
Central to this guide is the value of the fundamental partnership between parent, athlete, and coach along the sports journey. A healthy collaboration can significantly facilitate navigation through the complexities along the way.
The role of parenting is key to managing a successful youth sports experience. Parents value and facilitate the goal of sustained, meaningful relationships throughout the journey. They maintain focus on the ultimate priority, that their children will reap lifelong rewards beyond championships and trophies. They understand that joy should be part of this journey as well.