July 24, 2012
How do I really know if my child is “good” at sports? Many parents hope that their child has the athletic prowess to be one of the best players on a team. We watch the team perform at games and pick out the top players on the field but how do we really know that our child is good?
Most youth players who play at a higher level will certainly stand out on a team. If your child dominates on the field or court, chances are they possess the skill attributes that will set them apart from the rest. Sometimes younger players who are fast stand out in the earlier years of play. Then we see players catch up to them because they have developed better sport specific skills. The one time dominant player, who was fast, may not have needed to rely on their skills to perform. When these athletes get older they will find that the lack of skill development and attention will not serve them well on the field.
Trust the comments of other parents. If parents are continually telling you how “good” your child is, they probably possess some desirable sports skills. Getting a neutral perspective is helpful as well. There are a number of youth coaches who would be happy to provide the areas of weakness or strengths of a player. I like to give parents and players three areas to work on. Even if a player stands out in their age group, they can still work on fine-tuning their skills to help them elevate their game for the next level.
Summer is a terrific time to work on improving skill development in your own backyard. As a parent you can always get some tips online or borrow from practice sessions you have seen. When your child seems bored, create a backyard sports day focusing on what your child can improve.
Determining the athletic gift of our children is not a simple equation. Listen to the words coaches and other parents use when they are cheering or speaking to your child. You will get a good indication of how effective they are on the playing field. Of course, the best indicator is the smile on your child’s face as they get ready to play or leave the field.