It is not that often I find positive articles in the media or on the internet about sports and youth sports topics. There are far too many occasions where some pro, elite level athlete, or coach makes a poor “character” choice getting their name, and story, plastered all over every media outlet you can find. The Jerry Sandusky story and lack of proper follow-through by Joe Paterno, Ryan Braun’s alleged steroid issue, and Chicago Bear Sam Hurd’s drug bust are all recent events that readily come to mind.
And we wonder why so many have a negative perspective on sports and youth sports in general, not able to see the good things or opportunities that they can bring to the table for participants. But this is,of course, all dependent upon what we (parents, coaches, society as a whole) accept, encourage and support in athletes, especially at the youth level.
Thus comes a great piece from Janis Meredith, a sports parenting writer whose biography includes being the wife of a coach for 28 years and a parent of athletic offspring for 18 of those years. That is a lot of firsthand experience, from many different angles, when it comes to our youth sports culture.
Janis’ article I refer to above (located at redding.com) is titled 7 ways sports can teach your child to give and it is loaded with good advice regarding how to use youth sports participation as a means to teach the unselfishness, or “giving” as she so notes.
The whole premise behind her article is for parents, and coaches, to identify situations where young athletes can be taught to place others before themselves, to encourage a more selfless type of behavior, and to take pride in what all collectively do to accomplish what is achieved. Basically, to show respect for what others do as a primary objective.
Some of her more specific suggestions include giving credit to others who are deserving of such, respecting those in charge, and putting the team first before oneself, and there are several others needing your perusal in order to feel the full impact of her advice.
I especially like her portrayal of the young college point guard who had been given a wonderful opportunity to shine but instead opted to dish the rock (ball) to his teammates creating opportunity for them for much of the game. This story is in relation to her third point of advice; for parents to encourage their young athlete to "GIVE up his [her] individual advancement for that of the team."
I don’t want to take too much more from her piece as I think it best to read what Janis had to say firsthand. Always best to get information firsthand I always say.
Great article Janis, tons of wisdom in this one.