Sports are a big deal in our family.
In fact, this fall, all three of our girls will be soccer players! After several years of sitting on the sidelines, Meleah will finally be old enough to play. And come winter, Abby Grace and Reese will once again play basketball. Needless to say, September through May, our Saturdays are spent at sporting events! Abby Grace has also decided that she wants to run in 5K races alongside her Daddy, so when the weather gets a bit cooler in the mornings, she will resume running with him.
My husband is still a great athlete, and has played in an alumni basketball tournament and run two 5K’s this year, both events being a first for him. While being athletically inclined comes naturally for him, it seems that our two oldest have been blessed with their momma’s ability to not be so good at sports. Fortunately, both Abby Grace and Reese are tenacious, and are determined to work hard and do a good job on their teams. We have never made them play, but have always given them the option once they are old enough and at the end of every season, have the option of no longer playing.
Never give up.
Reese is the smallest and slowest on her soccer team, but she is always moving. She never stops running (or grinning!), and never gives up. She naturally kicks the ball the proper way, and has a great aim once she gets to the goal.
Abby Grace has struggled with timidity, and being a great soccer player on the practice field, but acting like she had no idea what was going on once the game started. This is something we all had a tough time with, as she actually was a really good player. She was by no means the best on the team, but on the practice field was super fast and kicked the ball very well.
We finally figured out that she lacked confidence in herself. It turns out, she was quite content to half-heartedly play and let someone else (in her mind, the better players) do the work. She wasn’t a lazy player, but simply did not consider herself to be the best “man” for the job. Her confidence began to take a turn for the better when she realized that she could play well… and she could score.
One game, late in the season, a large portion of her team was absent. They had five players, and with 4-on-4 soccer, allowed for very little rest. Abby Grace couldn’t just pass the ball onto a teammate and pretend she did something. Being forced to play as hard as she could opened her eyes to how much more fun it was to play the game. It also helped that she scored not one, not two, but three goals. That game did it. She was a new kid, and by the end of her third season of soccer, was aggressive and scoring goals like nobody’s business.
How to be your child’s biggest fan
Practice with them. Don’t just take your kids to practices, practice with them at home. Even if you aren’t the greatest athlete (like me!), you can still toss a baseball, kick a soccer ball, or shoot baskets.
Speak encouragement. Believe me, it can be hard to be encouraging when your child ducks every. single. time. the ball is kicked in his or her direction. No matter how the game goes, or how bad your child played, find something good he or she did.
Use positive reinforcement. When correcting your child or helping him see what he is doing wrong, be positive. Find something he is doing correctly and build upon that. Abby Grace’s soccer coach is amazing at this. No matter what, he had a positive word to say to each kid.
Show up. Be at their games to cheer them on and give them high-fives and pats on the back. Kids need to know mom and dad support them in what they do. Ultimately, I believe that makes a better player.
Is our family perfect at all of these all of the time? Nope! In fact, I had to learn a lesson myself: negative reinforcement does no good. My child tuned me out every time. Putting a positive spin on everything ensures that my child hears exactly what I’m saying; it also makes the game (and the ride home!) a lot less stressful.
What are your tips for being your child’s biggest fan?
Disclosure: I was compensated for this blog post as part of the SocialMoms and Duracell blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.
Learn more about the Duracell Virtual Stadium and submit your own motivational message to this year’s Olympians!
Duracell is an official sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Team USA may rely on Duracell to power their training devices, but they also need fan support to gain the winning edge. So, Duracell has launched a Virtual Stadium app tab on their Facebook page to help power the athletes by sending them an inspiring message as they go for the gold. Your words of encouragement will become part of Duracell’s Virtual Stadium, which will be displayed on 25+ foot high-tech screens in London this summer at the P&G Family Home (the only place where athletes and families can come together since family is not allowed in Olympic Village). When you submit a motivational message or video, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a trip to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games or a $500 Visa gift card from Duracell.
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Written by: Amy Norton
Amy is a youth pastor’s wife and homeschooling mom to three girls, ages 8, 6, and 3, and has a baby boy on the way. When she’s not writing at Kingdom First Mom, you can find her cooking, getting crunchier by the day, and trying to stay on top of the laundry. She enjoys writing about her homelife adventures at Amy Loves It.