(By Guest Contributor Coach Mike G)
Don’t be a coach; be a parent
After a game, whether they win or lose, STOP giving advice and critiquing their performance. Don’t tell them the reason they failed or coach them on how to correct it. That’s what coaches are for. If your child asks your opinion, give it; if not, stay quiet or only praise. You don’t want any tension or anxiety around sports or your child has a greater chance of
quitting at a younger age.
Feed your kids appropriately
Athletes need good fuel just like a car. If you put bad food/fuel into their bodies, they won’t run properly. Period. Nutritional choices can make or break the physical development of your child and also replenish or diminish the adaptation effects from training and practicing. The theory is simple: for the development of an organism to be as successful as possible, it relies heavily on the food it eats and the liquids it drinks. Applying physical stressors (training, practice, games) requires the mindful to at least know what NOT to feed kids and make the ‘better’ choice. Example: fast food vs. home cooked meals; sugary breakfast cereals vs. protein smoothie; sweet snacks vs. trail mix or bars; soda and fruit juices vs. water.
Help kids get the proper amount of sleep
Sleep is THE most important component for the development of children and is key in the recovery from physical stress. 8-10 hours of sleep every night is not realistic for most kids with demanding school obligations, long practices, and social upkeep, especially living in the tech age as electronics are known to have a negative effect on sleep. So, what are the strategies parents can use to ensure their young athletes acquire the sleep needed to maximize recovery and restore mental cognition and acuity? The power of education. Let them know that lack of sleep can:
- cause a dramatic drop in mental focus and acuity (school)
- reduce recovery from physical exertion (performance in sport)
- reduce growth hormone release (growth)
Go to as many games as you can, pay attention, and be able to discuss the game without negativity. It is important to know your athlete so that if the athlete is in need of anything, you can provide a solution.
Encourage multiple sports
Early specialization can ruin your kid’s athletic career. Committing to a single sport year-round before high school can potentially be one of the worst mistakes a parent can let a child make. Here’s why:
- Overuse injury: The chronic pathology is manifested when a specific movement is replicated over and over again without specified rest. A tennis stroke, soccer kick, baseball pitch or throw, golf swing, and many other repetitive movements can create chronic injury if not rested accordingly.
- Injury due to lack of variability: Most basketball players who train with me have the same movement deficits in common: tight ankles, tight hips, knee pain, and poor shoulder posture. Why? Most basketball players have been playing basketball year-round since they were 8. The lack of movement variability creates an adaptation to move the way one needs to be successful to play basketball.
- Mental burnout: Regardless of the ability of the athlete, mental burnout can ensue and can easily interrupt an athlete’s career drastically. One may never reach his or her highest physical capacity in sport if the desire to play has been lost.
As Director of Performance at The Factory in Sherman Oaks, Ca, Mike G has quickly risen to become one of the most well-respected performance coaches in the United States, training Olympians, NFL Players, NBA players and MLB athletes. Under Coach G’s training, Victoria Azarenka became the top ranked women’s tennis player in the world in 2011. Mike works with all levels of athletes and ages.