word secret written under torn strip of paper

4 Things Every Teen Sports Player Secretly Thinks (But Would Never Admit)

Some things are best left unsaid, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist in thought bubbles. Here are some things all teen sports players think but would never admit.

You might not want to admit the following, because they’re secret, but that doesn’t make them any less true. You’d be hard pushed to find a teen sports player willing to admit to thinking any of this, but that doesn’t mean they don’t. Here are just four of the things every teen sports player secretly thinks but would never admit:

1. Look good, Feel good, Play good

Look, nobody is going to admit this. It’s way too vain. But every teen sports player in the history of teen sports  has taken the time to admire their reflection whilst wearing their uniform. Hey, those uniforms cost a lot of money and they signify greatness, you can’t blame a teen sports player for loving how they look. Not that they’d ever admit it.

2. Sometimes Sports Aren’t Fun

Even the most dedicated of sports players don’t love getting up at 6 a.m. to run around in the rain. Who would enjoy that?! Certainly not a teenager, that’s for sure. Getting up early on weekends is tough, even if you’re going at it in the hopes of being the greatest sports player that ever lived. And yeah, sometimes even teen sports players press the snooze button a few too many times.

3. Daydream Believing

Most teen sport players will act coy, if you ask whether they dream of making it big. After all, the chance of it happening is slim. But, deep down, that’s exactly what every teen sports player is hoping for. They dream of glory, fat paychecks and the celebrity lifestyle, of course they do.

4. Playing Sports Helps with Romance

Look, it’s nice to believe that it’s your adorable hairstyle, quick wit and crooked smile that wins the heart of everyone around, but every teen sports player knows it’s really the fetching uniform, healthy physique and school-wide celebrity status that helps them get their beau. Not that they’ll ever admit it out loud, because that’s not why anybody plays sports. Obviously.

What’s missing off this list? Comment below to add your secret thoughts.

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What Can You Do When Your Child Wants to Play, But Is Injured?

A sprain, a strain, or a broken bone. Your child is injured. Injuries during athletics are common. There are more than 3.5 million childhood sports-related injuries per year, according to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Whether your child’s injury is fairly minor or it’s much more major, it’s likely that they’ll have to sit on the sidelines – at least temporarily. Here’s where the problem comes in. Your child understands the issues that come along with injuries. The pain is real and your child  knows that they have to heal. But, that doesn’t stop your young athlete from wanting to play, practice and compete. What now?

Create an Alternative Role

Participation is a major part of sports play. Your child isn’t just an athlete, they’re a team member too! Now that your child is out for the season (or at least for right now), they need a new role. Talk to the coach, asking what your child can do to stay actively a part of the team.

It’s possible that your child can be in charge of equipment, help pass out water/snacks or act as the team mascot. Get creative and look for ways that your child can do more than just sit alone. Is your child artsy? Maybe it’s time to draw a few “Go team!” banners. Maybe your child loves cooking. Help them to bake cupcakes in team colors or organize a bake sale (to benefit the team) during the game. Obviously, these aren’t the only ideas. Work with the coach, and the rest of the team, to brainstorm other roles your child can play.

Modify the Workout

It may seem like there’s little point in going to practice if your child can’t run down the field, lift weights, or hit a ball. Even though your child can’t get completely in on the action, sitting on the couch at home isn’t the only option – it can be an unhealthy one.

No, your child can’t work exactly like everyone else is. But, your young athlete can do a modified version. Work around your child’s injuries, looking for ways that they can join in or get some sort of physical activity. This might mean extra running (if your child’s arm or hand is injured) or doing upper body-only exercises (if their lower body is hurt).

How does this idea play out on the practice field? Let’s say your child has a broken hand. When the rest of the baseball team is practicing throwing and catching, your child can run laps or do sprints in-between the bases.

Be a Cheerleader

Okay, so this doesn’t mean your child needs to join the school’s cheer squad. Chances are that their injury would prohibit this anyway. Instead of silently sitting in the bleachers and watching the team play, encourage your child to cheer as loud as they can. Turn watching from a passive activity to a totally active one. Whether your child has signs to hold up or is just using their voice, this is an easy way to make your athlete feel like they’re still part of the team.

Watch and Learn

Doing isn’t the only way to learn. Your child can also learn a lot by watching what’s going on. Even though no one wants an injury, this presents a perfect opportunity for some in-depth learning about the sport. Now your child has the chance to sit back and truly see what’s going on in the rink, on the field, or in the court.

Did a play go completely not as expected? Ask your child what they saw that contributed to it. Maybe there’s a sports superstar on your child’s team. Have your child watch what the other player does, learning from their moves and actions. From the best plays of the day to the worst flubs, your child can use this time as a chance to improve their skills through careful observation.

Choosing an alternative way for your child to participate in the sport when they can’t play is a motivating way to keep your young athlete’s interest up. Keep in mind, not all children respond in the same way to injury. Some kids are quick to get in there and cheer for their team, while others let the injury seriously get them down. Talk to your child, asking what ideas they have for participating during this time. Try incorporating their ideas with yours, and the coaches. Make the most of this time and before you know it your pint-sized pitcher or tiny tennis star will be back in the game!

Mad young woman with steam coming out of ears on textured concrete background. Anger issues concept

Managing Heightened Emotions at Game Time

Everyone in the stands knows Danielle is one of the best basketball guards among all middle schools in the region. The desire within Danielle to be the best in hoops may also have jumped over into the young girl’s overall attitude. At first, her parents paid little attention to the occasional verbal outburst at officials and other players on her team.  However, the outward examples of her frustration are increasing and more noticeable to her coach, teammates and fans. What can be done to address a situation such as Danielle’s?

FIRST ON THE AGENDA

In his book, Whose Game is it, Anyway?, Dr. Richard Ginsburg devotes a chapter on the subject of emotional frustrations exhibited by participants in youth athletics. The author suggests parents should be very careful in their first approach to the situation. Do not make an immediate knee-jerk reaction. This can be difficult advice to follow as parents are themselves sometimes wrapped up in the game’s moment. Watching a child fail because of a referee’s decision or a mistake by the child’s teammate can cause a natural frustration for the parents as well. Ginsburg says it best, “The first reaction is no reaction.” In other words, parents need to take a deep breath and not add fuel to the fire.

REACTION BY THE COACH

After a child exhibits this frustration the parents must be prepared for what the athlete’s coach may do next. If it’s the first – or the second or the third – instance where this occurred, parents must accept a coach’s game-time decision. Whether the coach sits the child out for a few minutes, a quarter, or the rest of the game parents need to maintain their composure. Yelling from the stands will just make the matter worse. The time to address the coach’s reaction is not at the end of the game, either. Contact the coach the following day and set up a meeting to discuss the situation.

COMMUNICATING WITH THE CHILD

The advice from Ginsburg’s book is to take a ‘calm but firm’ approach with the young athlete. A good opening question may be as simple as, “What went through your mind to cause you to react in such a way?” Calmly asked it is immediately letting the child to explain his/her actions. Self-control is not an learned overnight.

“Without patience and willingness to provide explanations, setting firm limits can be meaningless and even destructive,” warns Ginsburg. In other words, parents need to have the open line of communication before determining what methods of correction to use.  This is also where the meeting with the coach comes to play. Consultation between the coach and parents can generate an effective way to correct the displays of frustration.

AVOID FEELING ‘HELPLESS’

Whatever steps to correct a child’s temper and frustration during a sporting event are decided upon, it is extremely important for the parents not to lose sight of the desired end result. As in many other facets of raising children, the old saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ aptly fits. There may be ‘instant oatmeal’ but no one has figured out a way to package an ‘instant solution’ for a child’s emotions. If a child’s frustration bubbles over as a result of self-pressure it is going to take patience from parents and coaches in order for an effective change to occur.