Kids Sports: Taking Part Really Is The Best Part
A mentor is someone who advises and trains a younger or less abled person. In this case, training your children to play a sport. A good mentor instils a confidence in children through play.
I have three children, and each has their own abilities and love of different sports. Last year my eldest played GAA and discovered through the mentoring of a brilliant coach that she could play the game quite well. Before that, her coach was, it's sad to say, more interested in winning than progressing the younger children.
I travelled the counties with her and her team to watch her stand on the sideline. Well, I can’t tell you how much that broke my heart. It cut like a blunt knife. And I know it’s something a lot of parents suffer from, in all sports. I struggled to feel the joy when they won and the sadness when they lost because honestly, it meant nothing to me; I had no connection.
To my daughter it meant everything. She supported the other girls right to the end and I was envious of her been able to do this with no prejudice. I could not.
I must admit that I hoped she would give up. It was too hard to watch her and the other girls standing there on the sideline only praying they would get even five minutes. But she didn’t she stuck with it and went to every training session.
Then things changed when she had a new coach a new mentoring team that lifted the girl’s confidence to a new level. I’m not going to lie, at first, I paid no heed only another season of watching other people’s kids play; while my own never faltered in her support on the sideline. So proud of her, disappointed in me. But as mothers, we just want to shield and protect.
No matter what their level of ability on the team the new mentor moulded each and every one of them to play at their best.
The result was a team playing as a team, not individuals. Every child got a game every child got the pat on the back every child felt special. It redeemed my faith in children’s sports. Most importantly their mentors. He made the difference to a lot of these girls. They blossomed with their new-found confidence. A lot of trainers who are also parents could take a leaf out of his book. He made it fun he supported them win or lose.
The team began to win games, yes that was fantastic for them. But most important the confidence in these girls was lovely to see. My own daughter began training every day outside on the green begging her little brother to play with her. She began to talk about the game a lot and I listened. I actually learned a lot about the game myself!
This was last year and now she has moved up to the older group the selection of only the elite began again. She decided to move on and take up all school sports instead. She has discovered how good she is at a lot of sports. She still has her confidence and it has also benefited her academically and socially.
My son plays for the local soccer team and is the team goalkeeper. After every game and training session they boys are applauded for their performance win or lose. Their mentors understand the importance of building up young people not knocking them down. Telling them they can achieve, in turn giving them confidence.
If you train or are involved with your towns local sports, or even school sports please remember these are children, not superior athletes. They are not here to win titles for you to line your trophy cabinets. That is an added bonus if they do win.
But all kids are winners the taking part really is the best part. Playing as a team teaching them that social skill should be top of your list as it will carry them through life.