darin shapiro

Are parents and kids following the wrong sports paths? By Darin Shapiro World Wakeboard Champion

darin shapiro

Kien Shapiro
Wakesurfing

It appears that some parents have their kids on a race to nowhere. There are parents running around from sport to sport in an adult driven, super competitive race to the top of both academics and sports. More times than not, this serves the needs of the parents more than their kids. Now, we tend to be seeing a lot of kids that are being pushed to achieve their parent dreams more than their own. These overachieving families commonly push their child to do more and more, better and better, while the pressure and anxiety steals one thing the child will never get back; their childhood.
This happens because of fear, it’s not because we don’t love our children and are trying our very best to do whats best for them.
We worry that if our child doesn’t get the best coaching while specializing in sports they will be left behind. Is this a good path? No, and its a terrible system.
It is unfortunate for parents because they do realize they are running their child ragged but don’t see an alternative. It also disheartening for coaches. The best coaches want to develop the person for long term excellence, not just an athlete with short term success, which is getting harder and harder to come by these days in the coaching game.
First and foremost children need to have fun and enjoy their sport!
While parents are trying to give their children the “one thing they never had” or “the coaching they dreamed of as a kid” they need to remember to give them a happy childhood first! Allowing children to find their passion instead of choosing for them, even if that a means a path way off from what you would hope they would choose.
We are not bad parents if our kid isn’t on the podium at a sports event or if our kid doesn’t get into an elite program or school. When it comes to measuring up to someone or something we need to keep our ego in check as parents. Is your kid enjoying their life? This should be your priority over awards and who their coach is, shouldn’t it?
Expose your kids to as many lifelong lessons as possible. It is not athletic ability, but the lessons learned from the sport that need to last a lifetime.
Pounding a kid with lofty aspirations in sports rarely materializes into a long term successful sports career. Most kids are done with sports during their high school years so lets not fill their childhood with baggage.
As you do your best to ramp up your child’s athletic schedule, just make sure your on a path you’ll both enjoy.

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