In the world of youth sports it is so easy to get caught up in the emotion and get into the mindset that every competition, game, or match is the most important event. What if the athlete is injured, sick or physically unprepared for the competition? How do you decide?
This is where the coach, athlete and parental team need to come together. There are the obvious reasons to scratch an athlete – diagnosed injury or illness, but there are situations where the decision is not as clear cut.
That is the situation I find myself in today. My youngest daughter is a swimmer. Two weeks ago she came down with that icky virus that has been going around and ended up missing an entire week of school. This past week she returned to school but was so tired after a full day at school she was asking to go to bed early, couldn't even get homework done, and was just not back to 100% yet. She went to practice twice in the past two weeks and neither one was what I would call a complete practice.
She is supposed to be at a swim meet this morning. We decided to miss it – even though we had paid for it already and her coach was fine with her swimming if she was up to it. She does not feel prepared – and as a coach for a completely different sport (gymnastics) – I know she is not. I know she could have made it through, gotten a time and survived, but she would have been disappointed in her performance.
Knowing my daughter, that would not be a motivating thing at all. It's only one meet. It's not the end of the world. Too often as coaches and parents we lose sight of that. Rather than pushing through today and being disappointed, my daughter is intent on going and cheering on her teammates and setting her goals for the next meet. One of those goals is staying healthy.
As a coach, do you have guidelines in place to help make the decision about competition readiness easier and more clear cut for all involved? I know at the gym we do. For us it's a safety thing.