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The Key to Peak Performance

The role that parents play in the life of a young athlete has a tremendous impact on their experience. Here are some reminders to help keep this in mind.

Let the coaches coach: Leave the coaching up to the coaches. This includes motivating your child for practice, after game critiquing, setting goals, requiring additional training, etc. You have entrusted the care of your player to these coaches and they need to be free to do their job. If a player has too many coaches, it is confusing for him and his performance will usually decline. This doesn't mean there is anything wrong with spending time with your child on your own throwing the ball around or shooting hoops but do it as a parent not as a coach.

Support the program: Get involved. Volunteer! Help out with fundraisers, car-pool, anything to support the program.

Be your child's best fan: Support your child unconditionally. Do not withdraw love when your child performs poorly. Your child should never have to perform to win your love.

Support and root for all players on both teams: Foster teamwork. Your child's teammates are not the enemy, nor is the other team. When you childrens teammates are playing better than your child or the other team is playing better than your child's team, your child has an important opportunity to learn.

Do not bribe or offer incentives: Your job is not to motivate. Leave this to the coaches and their staff. Bribes will distract your child from focusing on team play.

Encourage your child to talk with the coaches: If your child is having difficulties in practice or games, or can't make a practice, etc., encourage them to speak directly to the coaches. This "responsibility taking" is a big part of the learning process. By handling the off-field tasks, your child is claiming ownership of all aspects of the game.

Understand and display appropriate game behavior: Remember, your child's self-esteem and game performance is at stake. Be supportive and cheer. To perform to the best of their ability, a player nees to focus on the parts of the game they can control; fitness, positioning, decision making, skill, aggressiveness, etc.. If they start to focus on things they can not control; field conditions, the referee, the weather, the opponent, etc., they will not play up to their ability.

Monitor eating and sleeping habits: Be sure your child is eating the proper foods and getting adequate rest.

Help your child set the right priorities: Help your child maintain a focus on schoolwork, relationships, church, God and other things in life besides sports. Also, if the child has committed to a sport make sure that the committment is kept.