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Sport and Competition

Define Success for Your Young Athletes

How your children define athletic success will impact how far they go.

Mahopac Carmel
Source: Mahopac Carmel

In this week's vlog segment, I explore the importance of helping your children to define success in their athletic lives. This discussion by parents with their children is so vital because the youth sports culture defines success in a very narrow and limiting way, namely, success is about winning. Of course, victory is a primary goal of sports, but if that's the only definition for success, then, at the end of every game, event, meet, or race, there will be only one winner and many losers.

You want to provide your children with a definition of success that is motivating, controllable, and will encourage them both enjoy their sports experiences and inspire them to strive toward their goals with commitment, confidence, and courage.

Key contributors to a positive definition of success for your young athletes should include:

  • Failure is not only okay, but it is necessary because it teaches essential lessons that will help children find success and it encourages patience, persistence, and perseverance.
  • Giving their best effort because if they do everything they can to find success, your young athletes will likely experience some level of success, either in sports or in another part of their lives.
  • Going all out, meaning throwing themselves wholeheartedly into their competitive performances without doubt, worry, or hesitation.
  • Having fun because without fun, success has little value or meaning.
  • Improvement because a key goal of youth sports participation involves just getting better which, ultimately, will lead to success of some sort.
  • Progress toward your children’s athletic goals because if they are progressing, they are experiencing success.
  • Results because, yes, results do matter in sports, but the way to get results is to focus on the process of performing and the above definitions of success. The paradox of results is that by not focusing on them, the results are more likely to come.

To learn more about how to help your children define athletic success in healthy ways, watch this week's vlog segment.

Want to be the best sport parent you can be? Take a look at my Prime Sport Parenting 505: Raising Successful and Happy Young Athletes online course.

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