Millions of young athletes every year crowd playing fields, eager to take on new challenges and begin their long and exciting journey to becoming healthy and active adults.
But not everyone is so eager to play sports. In fact, there are many kids who see organized sports and competition as dangerous. Parents who are confused by their child’s avoidance of sports must not push too hard or pull back. It’s through patience and gentle encouragement that children will overcome their fear of playing sports.
Here are four steps parents can use to encourage kids to overcome their fear of playing sports:
1. Figure out what triggered the fear. It could be that the child remembers you or another adult being overly critical of his play, putting him down or hurting his feelings.
2. Make amends for those mistakes by opening yourself to your children and apologizing for acting out in the past.
3. Set realistic goals for your child and offer rewards for reaching those goals and always show pride in her efforts, even when she falls short.
4. Be sure to make it clear that their effort is so much more important than their success.