Your Child's Participation in a Sports Program – When Is It Appropriate to Remove Him / Her?

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My interest in writing this article stems from the facts that I'm a retired licensed psychologist for over twenty-five years, and a former coach of organized baseball programs. I have deal with parents in my professional practice who were dismayed that their children wanted to quit a sports team as well as, a coach who had a player who wanted to quit the team. Parents would approach me as a coach, and ask me to "talk to my kid, and let him know he has to stick it out; not to be a quitter."

A youngster's participation in a sports team should be for multiple benefits for the child, not for the parents, coach and the win and loss record. It is not for the parent's glory, pride or "living through your child," phenomenon (which I witnessed so often in my professional practice and on the baseball field).

Exercise, socialization, perceptual-motor development, ethical rules of competition, companionship, and self-concept development are all great potential benefits for our youth.

When the coach, program director or a parent has loss focus of the benefits noted above, and when the child complains of his / her disinterest or regret in playing, an evaluation of the child's participation should be questioned.

When there is no leadership to deal with bullying, when the sport requires excessive hours of practice that results in poor school performance, over-fatigue and disorder of family unity, an evaluation of the child's participation should be made.

Listen to your child and his honest appraisal of what he or she is getting from his participation and drop the mantra, "you are not going to be a quitter." If the lines of communication are open with your child and he consistently tells you that he does not value his sports activity, it is never inappropriate to remove your child from a sports team.

How do you approach the coach of your child when it is time, with your child's consent, to leave the team? Simply arrange a private time with the coach and explain the sincere reasons for the removal of your child from the team. There is no need to apologize to the coach for your child. You know your child better than the coach.

Whose idea was it to join the sports team, you as parent; the child or a joint decision? It really does not matter if the child states consistently over time, that he is not comfortable being a member of the sports team. So do not hit him with, "it was your idea to join, so deal with it!"

Try to remember that a sports team participation is for the child's benefit, not yours.


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