Have a child starting in TAS or Junior TAS for the first time? We believe that the key to success in sport is about the support children receive both as part of the school community and at home. Here are some points to keep in mind to help you fulfil your role as a parent of a young athlete while also making sports enjoyable for the whole family.
Help your child achieve their goals by honouring their decisions about which sport they’d like to play and how much time they’d like to dedicate to it. Let the athletic journey belong to your child and take cues from them by having open discussions about what they’re feeling and why they’re feeling that way, which will allow them to explore their own sporting interests even if you don’t share them. You might find this gives you the opportunity to learn and understand more about their chosen sport and position, especially if it’s not an activity you’re familiar with. Being a sporting parent often means learning together, and joining a TAS sport from the junior years is a great way to explore your child’s interests and let them experience a range of sports and social settings.
If you find yourself being the loudest spectator, it might be time to change your belief that you can alter the game’s outcome if you’re expressing your emotions. By making comments that could indicate blame or shame, you’re showing that mistakes in the game aren’t okay which might show your support crossing the line into pressure. Remember that excellence breeds success while a focus on success rarely yields excellence! The point of the activity is your child’s joy and improvement so being involved in a positive way means you can provide encouragement, support and practical help. One way you can do this is smile and show your child you enjoy being there if you catch them looking over at you during the game.
Communication & Feedback
School sport gives you the ability to initiate conversations with your child while providing emotional and practical support. You could try discussing the merits of being part of a team while reinforcing skills like time management, physical activity and camaraderie. Openly tell your children you love watching them play while also offering valuable feedback and encouragement about the process and not the end goal. If kids are praised for their effort, they’re more likely to view struggles as challenges and see another opportunity to overcome or improve their last game. Make the effort to praise your children for their sportsmanship and let them know you’re proud of the hard work they’re putting in to improve. On the flipside, avoid pressuring your children to train or play better and instead focus on nurturing their interests.
Freedom To Fail
As a parent, it’s hard to sit back and allow your children to experience life’s consequences, especially when they’re negative. Instead of always trying to be one step ahead, allow them the freedom to fail without taking it personally. It’s naturally part of the process of childhood and self-discovery where your child has the opportunity to learn their own likes and dislikes while claiming their chosen physical activity for themselves. Don’t downplay the importance and challenge of risk-taking but when things do go wrong. Your role is to help your child deal with the disappointment and learn from it. With dedicated coaches at every school and teams catering to every skill level, there’s so much to learn from playing school sport with TAS!
There are few joys like watching your child’s team play and the years go by way too quickly, so take time to enjoy the present moment of play. Remember that fun is the biggest motivator for children playing school sports and your actions play a big role in whether your child enjoys and learns from their sporting experience or not. School sport fosters an environment to learn, stay healthy, make friends and have fun so all you need to do is watch, support and encourage! By being a part of the Junior TAS or TAS community, your child is set up to experience the many benefits of school sports, from emotional intelligence to better concentration in the classroom.