Help Your Tween Be a Better Athlete

Inspire your tween to be the best athlete possible

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Is your tween interested in playing on a sports team for the first time? Does your child want to try a new sport, or simply improve her skills so she can be a better participant? Great athletes know that being successful in a sport requires dedication and commitment. Here's how to encourage your child to be the best athlete possible, or to try a new sport with enthusiasm and commitment.  

Tips for the Tween Athlete

Have a goal: Help your tween establish a goal so it's clear you both know what he wants from his sporting experience. His goal may be to make the middle school sports team, or simply to see if a new sport is something he'd like to pursue. Other goals might be to improve health, lose weight, or meet new people. 

Seek Advice: It doesn't matter if your child is an experienced player or a newbie, he or she can learn from someone who really understands the sport. Ask an older sibling, neighbor, coach, gym teacher, or fitness instructor to give your child pointers on how to be the best possible. 

Find Role Models: For some athletes, success comes easy and requires very little effort. Others need to overcome challenges before they are successful. Try to find an inspiring story to share with your tween, something that might encourage him to stick to it and keep on trying. Consider athletes who overcame racism, sexism, poverty or physical challenges as possible role models for your tween.


Establish a Routine: It can be hard to stick to a rigid schedule but many athletes know that practice is the only way to improve and get better. Your child might find that it's more fun to stick to a practice schedule if you or a group of friends join him. Another consider is to find a class that your child can attend, or find a workout video that your tween can work along to.

If all else fails, practicing to music can be inspiring and encouraging. 

Feed His Body: Practice isn't enough to make a great athlete, your tween will also have to feed his body and his mind with the proper nutrition. Ask your pediatrician for advice on a diet that will help your child feed his muscles and keep him healthy. In addition, it's important that your tween warm up and stretch before working out, and cool down afterwards. Also, some tweens may need a break from their sport from time to time, so that they can regroup and prioritize.

When Things Don't Go Well: Progress can often be a step forward and then a couple steps back. If your tween stumbles on obstacles, you can help him get past them and continue to move forward. Be sure you acknowledge even small improvements, and set both long and short term goals so that your child feels like he's making progress. You can also watch sport events on television, and point out that even professionals can make mistakes and have set backs on the field.

Finally, if your tween is truly struggling in his sport, take a step back and try something new. Maybe he needs to change his workout routine, or maybe he needs to look into other ways to improve his skills and knowledge of the game. 

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