Enjoyment is a key part of sticking with sports. Especially for youth athletes, finding happiness and fulfillment in the game is central to wanting to come to practice every day and putting in their best work. This week, coach and blogger Erica Suter shares ideas for helping youth athletes take joy in the process because if they care about playing, they’ll keep coming back.
One of the ways to help kids have fun is letting them explore. More and more, kids are being tracked into playing a single sport in the hopes of going pro or getting a scholarship to college.
But, Suter says, kids are better athletes when they have the flexibility to try new things and grow themselves in different ways. As parents, that could mean letting kids play multiple sports or getting them involved in other routines and skills, like strength and conditioning. “Build the human first,” Suter says. Then, focus on the player.
What You’ll Learn:
- Practice having a growth mindset
- Build healthy habits for long-term change
- Take breaks to prevent burnout
- Set short-term goals
- Create a reflection journal
“Now, looking back, I realize I stuck with it and was so serious about every aspect of my training because I enjoyed it. I enjoyed working hard. I enjoyed the game. I enjoyed learning and taking feedback from my coaches. And that’s what I want to permeate onto the athletes I coach now. You have to enjoy it, otherwise you’re not going to stick with it.” -Erica Suter
“I think a lot of parents now think that there’s some magical fix and their kid’s going to be better overnight, or they’re going to get that scholarship without any real work, but it really is a process, like anything.” -Erica Suter
“Yes, we’re all competitive and we have a lot of fire, but we need to have fun while we’re doing it, too.” -Erica Suter
“I almost expect failure because then it’s not as much of a shock. Failure is inevitable, so as long as I expect that’s part of the process, I’m going to be fine. The worst thing that happens is I fail and I hit it and go in a new direction.” -Erica Suter
“Build the human first. Make sure the human is strong and can move. And then work on the player.” -Erica Suter
You can follow Erica Suter on Twitter @fitsoccerqueen and on her blog at https://ericasuter.com/blog/. You can find out more about Total Youth Soccer Fitness online at https://ericasuter.com/total-youth-soccer-fitness/.