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How Do I Prepare My Child for Youth Sports?

Preparing a child to play sports takes a lot of work.

The first thing you should do is set some expectations for your children so they know what will happen when they first enter the world of athletic competition. For example, you should make sure your child understands that he or she needs to follow the coach's instructions without arguing or complaining. For younger children, this might involve letting them know that it's okay for them to do what their coach asks them to do at practice or during games, even though the coach is not their parent.

Your child also should understand the concept and importance of maintaining a high level of energy - or "hustle" - because it will help him or her be more successful and get more enjoyment from participating in sports. It is equally important to teach your child the concept of teamwork and how getting along with teammates will make sports more fun and help the team be more successful.

You'll find that when you preteach concepts like these, your child will be better prepared to participate and compete, and will have a smoother, more fulfilling entry into youth sports. Having a positive "first impression" can increase the likelihood that your child will want to be part of and will enjoy athletic activities throughout his or her school years, and will be a healthier, well-rounded student.