Get Ready for Fall Interscholastic Sports!
Schools across the country will be back in session in the coming weeks, meaning that fall sports will also soon be underway (AHPS). High school football, cross country, soccer, tennis, and golf are just a few of the fall sports kids will be playing, giving us plenty to get excited about. If you have a son or daughter preparing for a fall sport, it’s important to think about some of the following tips to ensure that your child improves his or her mental toughness and experiences a fun, safe, and meaningful fall sports season:
- For a lot of kids starting a new school year is tough enough when you factor in new classes, new teachers, and new schedules. Adding to these academic challenges are sport responsibilities and expectations, prompting kids to quickly learn how to multi-task and balance a busy schedule. Keep an close eye on how your child does, especially at the start of the school year when things can be especially chaotic.
- While fall sports can be a lot of fun, they can also be very exhausting and lead to sports burnout — especially for kids coming off an intense, summer travel league schedule. Remember, the risk for sports burnout increases when kids play competitive sports for long periods of time with few, if any, breaks in their schedule. If you feel your child may be burned out from sports, consider talking to a sport psychologist or other helping professional experienced in the area of sport psychology.
- Because most schools have a minimum grade point average needed to stay eligible, as well as specific character/integrity responsibilities to live up to, it is especially important to make sure your child is fully aware of all that is expected from him or her in order to compete. Make sure your child knows that things they think might not be a big deal can end up quickly ending their sports season (or career) — like being at a party where there’s alcohol.
- Make it a point to reach out and meet your child’s coach. These days, there is a lot of turnover when it comes to interscholastic coaches, making it even that much more important that you become familiar with the coach, as well as his or her team rules, philosophies, and means for future communication.
Perhaps the biggest thing to think about as your child’s new school sports season begins has to do with your unconditional support! Make sure your child is having fun, and support him or her when it comes to balancing school and sports, getting enough rest, and taking care of potential problems before they turn into bigger problems later. Try to attend as many games as possible, and talk about your child’s experiences in sports in positive, constructive ways rather than negative and destructive ways. Good luck & have fun this fall!!
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Dr. Chris Stankovich is a Professional Athletic Counselor and Sport Performance Scientist and studies the psychosocial variables impacting human performance and success. He is the author of 5 books and has had his work featured in numerous national media outlets, including USA Today and ABC World News. Dr. Stankovich is known as "The Sports Doc" for his regular television feature on Ohio News Network and NBC 4 Columbus (OH). For more information on peak performance products, speaking engagements, training seminars, and free education downloads, please visit http://www.drstankovich.com.