Kids, Wisdom

How to Raise A Pro Athlete

“How to Raise a Pro Athlete” sounds like the title of a best-selling book, doesn’t it? A book that would probably be flying off the shelves by millions of wild-eyed parents, envisioning their little Johnny’s name in lights. The fame! The fortune! The scholarships!

 Who knows, maybe this book already exists! If not, someone is probably writing it as we speak. 😊

Anyone who knows even a tiny bit about youth sports today knows that it has absolutely mushroomed into utter crazy town. The level of commitment and competition that is seen in kids as young as 5 or 6 around the country is quite astounding (a majority of which is totally driven by past-prime parents that are still feeling the hunger of competition themselves but are too old now, therefore living vicariously through their children).

Athlete #1 at our house

As a mom of 2 kids actively involved in youth sports, the title of an article I ran across yesterday caught my eye (posted on this website). It was written by former Minnesota Viking/ Baltimore Raven Matt Birk, and called “My Parents Made Me Into A Professional Athlete”.

With all of the aforementioned craziness surrounding youth sports, I always welcome some perspective about how it should maybe REALLY look and what a parent’s role “should” be in all of this.  

After you, as I have, attended a few or 50 soccer games full of parents screaming at the ref, their child, the coach or, sometimes a parent on the other team!, or watched a Mom in the stands at a swim meet literally wringing her hands in nervous desperation and borderline hyperventilating before her 9 year old child swims, you come to realize that maybe this whole thing is a wee little bit messed up.

I mean, I love sports and competition too, but it’s like instead of the athletes taking steroids these days, the whole industryis on steroids- especially the parents! Not to mention, it has become a multi-billion dollar business nationwide.

Athlete #2 

Anyway, this article is very refreshing and if you have any interest in youth sports, I’d suggest checking it out! The author, as I mentioned, was a professional football player and also graduated from Harvard. (When I heard that, I was like- oh yes, give me ALL the secrets! Brains for Harvard AND physical talent for the Pros?!! No fair. That guy must have also started with a pretty incredible set of genes too. Just sayin’.)

He shares some ways that he feels his parents contributed to his success in sports and in life. Of course, he is not claiming all kids will become pro athletes, but he even says, that’s not the GOAL of youth sports! He concludes by reminding readers that the ultimate goal of youth sports is “growth and development of our children” and to “have a little fun as well!”.

The main pillars of his parents’ philosophy were:

– “Go outside and play”
– “We don’t care if you win or lose, just give it your best effort”
– “Homework first, sports second”
– “We’ll be there”
He does a really nice job of expanding on these, especially the point about effort. None of this is new to me, and I’ve heard similar points before, but there was something really relaxed and refreshing about his approach in the article.

I especially liked the line where he says, “instead of worrying about what was going to happen to me, I just focused on giving absolutely 100% effort.”

I also try to encourage this with my boys, but this was a good reminder to work on that even more. It also is a good reminder for ALL of us! It can be easy to get wrapped up in “what ifs”, but really, if we all just focus on doing the best we can in life, we can rest easy. 😊

Have a great weekend! If you read the article, let me know what you think! This topic is super interesting to me and I’d love to hear a little discussion. 

5/28:
Steps: 10,014
Meditate: Done
Read: 15 minutes

Daily Gratitude: I am grateful for our bikes! Asher and I have been riding to the gym this week, and Ivan just got a new bike finally to replace an old broken one. I’m grateful for a fun activity we can do as a family. We are looking at hitting a longer bike trail tomorrow since weather looks good! 


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