First of all, raising a kid is a challenge. From being an infant to the terrible 2s AND 3s (!), elementary school to hormonal teenagers! Yep, parenting is a challenge but SO WORTH IT. B U T when you add in athletics and extra curricular activities, life gets really busy really FAST! My girls started their athletic careers in ballet and tap classes once a week (oh, the good old days), now it's soccer, soccer and SOCCER and lots of running and track strategies to discuss.
Remember when you were a kid and you could try out for your favorite sport at the local high school? Everything was right there, with very little travel unless you won the conference title. Now, there is a club for every sport imaginable and clubs require dedication, time and money.
For me, raising young female student-athletes was a requirement. If they wanted to do theatre or music, no problem, but in the meantime I wanted a sport to keep them physically challenged.
Even though there's a 1 in 3600 chance of becoming a "professional" female athlete (in basketball alone), the benefits of being a female athlete are awesome.
BELOW I HAVE LISTED 5 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN RAISING FEMALE ATHLETES:
- Find a sport that your daughter loves to participate in. When your female athlete loves her sport, she will perform better, learn new techniques faster and will constantly search for ways to improve.
- Be supportive. This is always a hard one for parents (even myself at times). Whether your girl wins or loses, she has to know you still support her. As a parent, we will do anything to protect our girls but when they under-perform, parents can display disappointment quickly. Let it go and love them anyway.
- Wins are AWESOME, loses are learning opportunities. My girls LOVE to win and HATE to lose. That's normal. Instead of dwelling on what went wrong, I have them write down what went right and what can they do different next time. It holds them accountable and helps shape what they want out of the sport.
- Allow rest, recovery and "girl-hood". When your girl finally gets a break, LET HER TAKE IT or in my case, MAKE HER TAKE IT. Between school, sports, peer-pressure and parents...it takes a toll on our girls. When they get a day off, let them sleep in, hang out with their girlfriends and do things they love to do. This will prevent burn-out, injuries and melt downs.
- Stick to the plan, schedule and goals. This goes back to being supportive. This is also where a lot of sacrifice happens with both parents and the student-athlete. Your student-athlete should have a clear plan, schedule and goal they want to reach. It's up to the parents and the student-athlete to stick to all three and if something doesn't benefit them, then do not allow "whatever it is" in their life.
Remember, being a student-athlete is hard but extremely beneficial. Student-athletes learn time management, a solid work ethics, team work, physical endurance and responsibility. These are all great aspects they will carry with them in their future, real-life settings.