How To Encourage and Support Young Athletes

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Z.E.N has been interested in sports since he was in kindergarten. Back then, the only sport he was eligible to participate in was track.  He did really well that year, and since then, has joined the track team every year. 

Z.E.N. running at a track meet.

When he started 2nd grade, he expressed an interest in basketball.  At his school, basketball is offered for students in third grad and up, however, since there were many other second graders who were also interested, the principal decided to allow second graders to play as well. 

That year was not an easy year.  Because so many of the players were so young and inexperienced, the team lost almost every game.  Losing so many games can be very demoralizing, however, the were vigilant and showed up for every game and cheered the team on at every game.

The encouragement the team received from the coaches and parents at our school as well as other schools helped the team to press on. They managed to win their very last game and were so happy at finally being victorious.  The next year, they went on to win every single game and won their division championship.

This was taken right before a basketball game.

Being supportive and encouraging is key when it comes to sports.  From ways to keep your athlete healthier and happier to fostering character that lasts a lifetime, these tips on how To encourage and support young athletes will help them to excel, thrive and grow into the young person you always knew they could be.

Let them choose.

Let your little athlete be the one who chooses which sport they want to play.  Once they have made their choice, support them. If for some reason they decide that they no longer want to continue playing their chosen sport, respect their wishes.  Last year, Z.E.N. felt some anxiety at track. He prefers to sprint than to run long distances and would indicate to me that he did not want to participate in the longer runs.  Although I was a little disappointed at this, I respected his request.

Build Self Esteem

Parents and coaches can contribute to a young athlete’s self esteem in a big way.  Let them know that they will make mistakes and that mistakes are a natural part of learning the game.  It’s also important to not criticize their performance.  Offer simple tips that they can use to improve their game. Finally, make a conscious effort to cheer on the whole team and not just your own little athlete.  This will help every player feel like they are an important part of the team.

Volunteer

When you are wondering how to support young athletes, look no further than yourself. Without volunteers, many youth sport teams would not be possible. You can volunteer to be a coach, to help raise money for the team,  or to just help out where needed.  That first year when Z.E.N. started running track, the coach asked me if I could help out.  I was a little nervous, but ultimately said yes. Since then, I’ve signed on to be an official assistant coach.

Watching my team run a the track championships.

Hydrate and Replenish

Keep young athletes hydrated for healthier game play and better performance. Dehydration is a very real issue that can occur quicker in young people than adults, leading to fatigue, dizziness, headaches and other problems. Make hydrating second nature by keeping drinks like POWERADE always close by on and off the field.

WereAllJustAKid(1)

Have you heard of the “just a kid” campaign? The POWERADE “Just a Kid” Campaign encourages young people from all backgrounds and abilities to dream big, reminding the world that all successful athletes and people in general were once “just a kid”. POWERADE has a specially dedicated website for creating customizable apparel with your hometown on the logo. The proceeds of each purchase goes to support the Boys and Girls Club of America, helping less fortunate athletes excel and thrive at whatever sport it is that makes them dream big too.

For a limited time, until April 4, 2016 or while supplies last, anyone who purchases two 8-packs of 20 ounce POWERADE at Walmart can submit their receipt online to order a free custom “Just a Kid” reusable sports bottle.

Whether your son or daughter is a little leaguer or preparing for college scouts, they never outgrow your encouragement and support. When you do support young athletes, even if they never see the big leagues, they will have known without a doubt they are a star, made to shine bright and dream big.

This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/POWERADE

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About the author

Diane Nassy

Diane is a New Jersey-based writer and blogger. She is a wife and the mom of a 9-year-old little boy. Through her blog, she wants to inspire moms to find Zen in their lives while offering practical tips and other valuable information to help families deal with everyday issues. Check out Diane's Google+ profile "