He is having a late night match with the wall after dinner, trying toperfect his backhand. She strikes a pose from her latest ballet compositioneven at the breakfast table while you get her things ready for school. He is onhis 100th lap before he calls it a day! Indeed, practice is the onlything that can make a man perfect, or at least close to perfect and with sportspractice is almost like breathing!
Sports, and we mean any sport, requires a single minded focus anddedication, and if your child is passionate about a particular sport, then asparents you need to encourage him/her to explore his/her fullest potential forthe game, which can only be done by dedicating ample of time to hone his/hernatural talent for the game. After all, in sports, as is the case with life, itis 1% per cent inspiration and 99% perspiration!
Ask Sachin who spent hours in the net in his early years, and in fact doesso even today, before any major tournament. Or for that matter, do you thinkTiger Woods would have been quite the golfing prodigy that he is, had he notspent hours of dedicated practice to perfect his swing? Probably not!
As parents, we all want our children to excel at whichever field they areperstrikeing in, whether its sports or academics, that’s only natural. But in ourquest to recognize the genius within our child, do we loose focus of how muchis too much? Finding the fine balance between encouragement and pressure isoften difficult. Yet, parents must strive to provide positive encouragement andsupport, as opposed to a burdening their child with unrealistic expectations.
Another aspect of balance that parents need to strike is that of life andsports for their child. You do not want your child so immersed in sports thathe/she is not able to enjoy other aspects of his/her childhood. It is no doubt,a challenge for your child to strike this balance on his own, especially at atender age. But it can be done–with the right game plan and a whole lot ofsupport (without any pressure) from your end. Here are some tips to help youhone your child’s sporting talent, while also ensuring he/she fulfills his/herschool responsibilities and has a bit of fun too, like every child should.
Be realistic with setting priorities – In order to assesswhat kind of time is really available to your child, it may be useful to drawup a calendar that incorporates school time, homework time at home, play time,extra curricular activities, sports and TV. Provide each activity with ameasure of time it would require to do/complete. Once you have a realistic viewof what you are dealing with, help your child work out a schedule that makestime for everything, including a sport that he/she loves.
Look for sports coaching that promotes balance – Having funis just as important as winning. A child should not be penalized for missingpractice on his sibling’s birthday for example. It is important to assess thenature of sports program your child is attending or would like to attend, inorder to ensure that it promotes a healthy love and a spirit of sportsmanship.The passion and focus will grow on its own if your child enjoys himself/herselfto begin with.
Experiment with sports – It is no doubt important tointroduce your child to a range of sporting activities, rather than push yourchild to excel in one at an early stage. Not only will it help your child todevelop a variety of transferable motor skills such as jumping, running,twisting, which will ultimately help him to become better at sport in whichhe/she may choose to specialize, but it will reduce the risk of overuseinjuries that often result from early specialization.
School work should get its due place – You will need toactively and regularly communicate with your child on the importance of schoolwork at every stage, asserting that sports cannot be excuse for lowered gradesor neglect. If you make it a priority in the scheme of things, your childshould follow suit!
Make sure your child gets enough sleep – In an attempt tooptimize your child’s success; don’t ignore the time tested advice of ‘8 hoursor more of sleep’. Children need adequate time to rest and recharge theirbatteries.
Provide for free time that is unstructured – Unstructuredtime is vital in your child’s development – it challenges them to thinkcreatively and explore their own passions. If kept busy with lessons andstructured activity, they may not find the time and/or inclination to exploretheir inner or outer world. It’s also essential for a child to have theexperience of deicing for himself/herself how he/she would like to utilizetime, thus learning to manage it.
Last but not he least, it is ok to say no. You may be required to take atough call by say limiting the activities your child can take on. Balancing thedemands of school and sports isn’t easy. By sticking a balance however, youwill help your child in the long run. Your attitude towards an ideal balancethat should be achieved will teach your child the art of time management, a skilluseful both in life and sport.
Have a tip on how you were able to make strike the balance for your geniusof school, sports and life? Tell us and all the i-genius parents about it…