A main reason that your child athlete may think about quitting their chosen sport activity is due to feelings of frustration. The sport may feel overwhelming to them. They may have lost the enjoyment from engaging in the sport.
Why does this happen?
- Some of their friends are on a team together in a different sport, and your child may want to be a part of their team because they feel “left out” of the fun when they discuss it at school.
- Feelings of communication frustrations with their coach or teammates could reduce their enjoyment with the sport.
- Their coach might not be addressing their desire for strengthening their skill techniques or gaining new skills which can cause feelings of stagnation in a sport.
How can you be proactive?
- Have ongoing conversations with your child about how they are feeling about their sport of choice. Ask if they are having fun, feel frustrated, or have any feelings of unhappiness with the sport.
- Find ways to support them in their sport of choice. This may include watching their practices and attending the competitions and cheering for their team.
Make sure that the philosophy of your child’s coach is a good fit for your child’s athletic goals.
- It is important to let the coach know your child’s priorities and if they plan to utilize this sport in their future career or goals.
- Encourage your child to talk with their coach to let them know that they are either capable of performing at a higher level, or that they are unable to perform the skills that the coach is asking them to do.
- If the coach is not open to suggestions of how to assist your child with reducing their desire to quit the sport, it might be helpful to find a different coach that is more open to meeting the needs of your child.
Reasons to continue the sport:
- By continuing the sport, you will help your child with gaining higher levels of physical fitness.
- Your child will attain skills that will prepare them for their future This include skills such as learning how to be a member of a team and working cohesively as a team to gain success.
- Encourage your child to follow-through with commitments. For example, encourage them to remain with the sport until the end of the season. Then once their commitment to the team is over, provide them with the option to choose a different sport.
- Explain to your child that winning or losing competitions is not the main point of having them play a sport. Identify how engaging in a sport helps them with learning new techniques and gaining connections that are valuable skills to learn for life.
What you as a parent can do to help this situation:
- Talk with your child to find the underlying issue of why they want to quit the sport.
- Find informal ways to increase your child’s skills in the sport to make it fun.
- If they do not enjoy the competitive aspect of their chosen sport, find clubs for them to join that don’t include travel competitions against other teams.
- Help your child strengthen their skills when playing the sport.
- For example: if they play baseball, you can play catch outside with a baseball and mitts in your backyard or at a local park. Take your child to a place that provides batting cages to practice hitting balls.
What if your child still wants to quit their chosen sport?
- Encourage them to try a different sport that is a better fit their skill abilities and can meet their personal sport goal desires.
- Continue to engage them in physical fitness for maintaining good health throughout their childhood that can carry-over into their adult life.
- Find other options such as hiking, martial arts, dance, yoga, skiing, snowboarding, weightlifting, boxing, bicycle riding, horseback riding, rollerblading or skateboarding.
Key points to Remember:
- Engage in ongoing communication with your child to address frustrations before they are overwhelmed by their feelings.
- Advocate for your child by discussing frustrations with their coach if they are uncomfortable to verbalize their feelings directly to their coach and/or teammates.
- Encourage your child to advocate for themselves since this is an important life skill to learn.
- Assist your child with continuing to exploring new sports or activities for ongoing physical fitness.
The Australian Parenting Website. (2020, April 22). Sport: helping children enjoy it more. Retrieved from website: https://raisingchildren.net.au/school-age/nutrition-fitness/physical-activity/sport-enjoy-it-more