Parents tend to be a little too eager when it comes to moving a child up in sports. They see their children as they hope and want them to be, not as they really are.
If you are wondering whether your young athlete is ready to move up to the next level–perhaps leaving behind his peers–take off the rose-colored glasses and ask yourself these questions:
- Is my child physically ready? Is it safe for him to move up? Size is a factor in some sports, like football or perhaps basketball. Even when size does not matter, skill and the ability to keep up do. A higher level usually means a quicker game.
- Does my child have the mental toughness required for the next level? Tougher competition brings more pressure and if your child cannot think clearly in a challenging situation, then he’s probably not ready for a harder game.
- Is my child not being challenged? Is he dominating so much on his team that the gap between him and his teammates continues to widen? If so, he’s probably ready to move up.
- What playing time will my child get if he moves up? If moving a child up in sports means that he sits the bench, you might want to think twice. Of course, he will get the opportunity to practice with better players, but if he is getting very little game time, he’s missing out on some valuable skill development.
- Will my child be moving past his peers? If your child sticks with his peers he could learn leadership skills, but if he moves to higher level ahead of his peers, he might feel a bit left out, or even ostracized by his own peers because he’s hanging out with older kids.
- Have you gotten an unbiased evaluation of your chlld’s abilities? If you can’t be unbiased, ask a coach at the level you are considering to evaluate your child, comparing them to his good players. You could even ask the coach to meet with your child one on one and test his skills.
- Do you have any doubts at all about moving a child up in sports? If you do, then don’t do it. If either you or your child is not sure that going to the next level is the right thing to do, then wait. No need to be in a rush.
- Do you have a sports program that you feel confident in? Sometimes the decision to move your child up will depend on your child’s sports program. The trick is to find a sports program that grows with your child, that offers all the levels of growth as your child grows and develops. Programs such as **Upward Sports provide an opportunity for each child to grow at a different pace, mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Moving a child up in sports is not a light decision
It is a decision that parents need to think about, discuss with each other, the child, and the coach. If you can answer these 8 questions and conclude that your child can adequately play with against players at a higher level, that it just may be time for your child to take on the challenge.
* *Upward Sports offers programs that encompass the social, mental, spiritual, and physical development of the athlete; they refer to this as the 360 Progression. This programming incorporates this progression in two levels of play: recreational–for beginning and younger athletes–and performance–for higher skilled athletes who will compete on traveling team.
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