Archive for Parenting
I read an article by Asha Forster Grebenik this week titled “How to Coach Your Gymnast at Home” – it honestly should be required reading for all sports parents – feel free to substitute your child’s sport for the gymnastics references in the post – and for that matter all parents in general! From her post…
Your gymnast does gymnastics at home. All the time. In every room. And you’ve watched enough gymnastics to know that certain things she’s doing are incorrect. So how do you make these corrections at home? You don’t. Let me repeat that. Do. Not. Coach. Your. Child. At. Home. Nothing will make your child’s coach cringe internally more than hearing that you worked on x, y, or z at home. You are not her coach. Don’t do it. Don’t even tell her to point her toes.
As sports parents most of us are guilty of “trying” to help our athlete at home – we think we are helping – we think we know what they need to hear – but guess again. As sports parents our job is to get our kids to practice, support them at meets, keep them fueled, and be their biggest fan.
So next time you feel the urge to make a correction from the bleachers, in the car or in you own home – STOP – DON”T DO IT. Instead, give your athlete a hug and let her know you are so proud of all her hard work!
Note: I originally published this a few years ago but find it very helpful to revisit at this time of the year!
Our kids go back to school soon but many of our mid-west friends have kids who go back to school this week. For us the first week of school is also the first week of practice on the fall schedule for the gymnasts I coach and my own kids go back to swim team practices this week, as well. As a coach and a parent, I know the next 3 weeks are going to be HARD! That’s because it is going to take about 3 weeks for the kids to adjust to being back in school all day and then going straight to practice a few times a week. But it’s going to be okay. Experience tells me that these first few weeks will be tough, but the kids will adapt.
As a parent, you can help make this transition time easier by:
- Make sure your athlete is going to bed at a reasonable time. Summer sleep schedules were lax at best around my house so it is time to recalibrate the kids’ sleep schedules. I aim to have my 10 year old in bed between 9 and 9:30 on school nights. She can sleep in until 7 so that gives her plenty of time to rest. My 14 and 16 year old have to get up earlier but don’t seem to need quite as much sleep so they go to bed no later than 10 – closer to 9:30 on night’s where the homework load is light.
- Make sure your athlete is adequately fueled. Long school days mean less opportunity for snacking but it also means that they will be hungrier when you see them after school. Start with a balanced breakfast – no a frozen waffle on its own does not count. Encourage your athlete to help pack their lunch or at least give you input so the chance of them eating it all is better. If you are going straight from school to practice, make sure you provide a healthy mini-meal to refuel their systems (check our list of Healthy Snacks and Mini Meal Ideas). After workout try a tall glass of chocolate milk and a banana or bagel for immediate muscle recovery!
- Communicate with teachers! If your child is still in elementary school, definitely let their teacher know what days they have sports practice. Many teachers will be willing to give homework at the beginning of the week so that you can focus on homework on off days, or at least conquer the more time intensive pieces on non-sports days. For middle school and high school students, it is a great time to learn time management skills. My kids have learned how to take advantage of in-school study halls and extra class time to get a jump on homework so they don’t have as much to deal with after school.
- Allow for downtime. Be sure not to completely over schedule your child these first few weeks. Add activities incrementally and allow for some relaxation time. Time to read, play, enjoy family time and just chill is just as essential for kids as the sports they do!
As a coach, you can help by:
- Being aware of the transition that your athletes are dealing with. Just acknowledging the new schedule and challenges will go a long way to helping the children relax.
- Taking a few minutes to communicate with your athletes. When we start practice we have the girls all line up first so we can give them any pre-practice information, greet them and we usually go down the line and ask them each how their day was or some silly question. It helps the girls change gears and it helps facilitate the coach/athlete bond.
- Stressing the importance of school. Remind your athletes that school comes first. If they need an extra 15 minutes at the beginning of practice to finish up homework, give it to them. As the year goes on they will find their stride and will learn to manage the homework/practice balance better. Allow athletes to leave practice early on night’s where they need to study for a big test or have a larger than normal homework load.
- Adjusting practice intensity. Know your athletes and know the signs of fatigue. The first few weeks of school you may need to adjust the intensity, number repetitions and lower your expectations a bit.
Years of experience from the coaching side and now from the parenting side have taught me that kids are resilient, they adapt and even the busiest schedule can be a positive thing – IF – parents and coaches are working together with the athletes as a TEAM.
Do you have tips for making the transition from the lazy days of summer back to the structure of balancing school and sports? If so – share them in the comments below! We can all benefit from working to support our athletes.
UPDATE! Congratulations SUSAN you are the winner of the Sports Years Memory Book. Please check your inbox.
Do you see all those ribbons? That is just a portion of the items I have collected from my youngest daughter’s past few years as a swimmer. I have been storing it all in a shopping bag and telling myself that one day I was going to organize it neatly. Lucky for me, the team at momAgenda is making “one day” get here a lot faster. They have a new product that is just for busy Sports Moms like you and me – we don’t have time to create elaborate scrapbooking layouts but we want to keep all our athlete’s important memories together in one place – so enter Sports Years.
Each hardcover Sports Years Memory book contains 14 expandable 11″x11″ folder pages for you to keep things like team photos, newspaper clippings, mementos and the like for each year in one place. Then for each one of the folders you can add as many details as you wish – the year, sport, photo of your child, position they played, teammates, accomplishments, and the list goes on.
I have a lot of work to do still, but just knowing that one of my favorite photos of her first championship meet is safe and easy to find, is a step in the right direction!
Are you ready to win a Sports Years Memory Book for your super star?
Required entry: Leave us a comment on this post telling us how many years your child has been playing sports and how you are keeping track of all those “mementos” now.
Bonus entries: Get BONUS ENTRIES by letting your friends know about our giveaway. Get one extra entry for each of the following, but come back and leave a second comment telling us where you shared it:
- Post about it on your own blog, in a forum, tweet about it or share it with your friends on Facebook
- Follow us on Twitter (we are @SportsGirlsPlay and momAgenda) – please send us a tweet letting us know you are following us and introduce yourself, too.
- Like us on Facebook (we are SportsGirlsPlay and momAgenda) – again, feel free to leave us a note on Facebook saying hello and that you are entering the giveaway.
- Leave your comment(s) no later than midnight October 4, 2012.
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- You must be 13 or older to enter. If you are under 13, just ask your parent, grandparent, favorite aunt or uncle to enter for you!
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Disclosure: momAgenda sent us a Sports Years Memory Book for purpose of review but the opinions of the products are our own!