TALLAHASSEE, FL -- Teen athletics can be very competitive and even more so complicated. Family Therapist Jane Marks shares tips for teens and their parents on how to cope.
1. FOR TEENS PLAYING SPORTS THEY NEED TO BE VERY ORGANIZED AND STAY ORGANIZED. They need to be good managers of their time and particularly when it comes to planning; planning their weeks activities, using a calendar to plan projects, tests and even fun times. Be smart about how they use their weekends. Procrastination doesn't work well when you're playing a sport because you're operating with lots of deadlines. Take advantage of study halls and free periods.
2. SECOND, TEENS MUST MANAGE SELF-CARE. Are they physically and emotionally well enough to handle the demands of the sport?
3. AS A PARENT, ARE YOU SUPPORTIVE OF THE GAME OR ARE YOU A HELICOPTER PARENT? Be careful about vicariously living through your youngster.
4. TEENS NEED TO OWN THEIR OWN DECISIONS WITH REGARDS TO SPORTS. Great athletes love working hard. Kids who are semi-motivated sometimes have a tougher time. Teens who are only semi-motivated generally will not stick with it over time. Remember, before a child decides to quit, also make sure there is not performance anxiety, sleep disruption, extreme fatigue or depression. All of these will affect how an athlete plays. So if your teen says, "you know, I'm really struggling with this", they don't have depression and seem to be real clear about the decision to leave the team, please allow them to do so.
5. ADDRESS COACHING STYLES WITH YOUR TEEN. AN ISSUE THAT MAY CROP UP IS COACHES WHO EITHER FAIL TO RESPECT THEM OR THE SPORT AND SOMETIMES IGNORE THE IMPACT THAT THE EXPERIENCE HAS ON EACH OF THEIR STEWARD'S LIVES. What you are hoping for in coaches is that they are great role models, that they are great leaders and they can teach life lessons. So teach your teen that not all coaches are alike. Clearly some are more hard driving, some are role models, but teach your child to be a critical thinker and to come and talk about his feelings about coaching styles and what is happening while they are playing under a particular coach. Most importantly, teach them to respect that coach no matter what.