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Commonly Asked Sports Questions

Should I allow my child to quit a team?

Sometimes a child's interest in a sport will fade. Or her participation may become a negative experience, perhaps because of a volatile coach, frustration in not playing as much as she would like, or a mis­match between her own physical size and that of the players against whom she competes.

In cases like this, find out the exact reasons why your child wants to quit. Listen to her and discuss her concerns. Working together, decide on the best course of action. Although it may not be wise for your child to make a habit of avoiding difficult situations, dropping out of a program may be the most sensible option in some in­stances.

If my child is having trouble keeping her grades up, should she still be permitted to participate in sports?

In most cases, the answer is yes. All children need physical activity as part of their day. Without this physical outlet, many have diffi­culty concentrating on their academic work. If practices and other sports-related demands are excessive, however, talk to the coach about your child's need to devote adequate time to studies.

There is another important factor to consider: Sometimes, children who have difficulty with schoolwork can use a boost in self-esteem, which sports often can provide. As they feel a sense of accomplishment in athletics, this renewed self-confidence can often carry over to other areas of their life, including academics.

My child is finding her sports participation too stressful. How can I alleviate her anxiety?

Sports can be stressful, but so can other childhood activities, such as school exams and band solos. However, you should try to mini­mize the stress in your child's athletic endeavors in the following ways:

  • Emphasize that sports participation is fun; do not let a "win at all cost" attitude interfere with your child's enjoyment of the game.
  • Let your youngster know that she is not being judged by her success (or lack of it) on the athletic field. When she strikes out or misses a free throw, be supportive and praise her for trying her best.
  • Help your child improve her athletic skills, which will reduce her stress levels during competition; if necessary, ask for some outside instruction from a cooperative coach.
  • Stay away from coaches who are abusive toward your child.
  • Speak with other parents to see if there is a common problem that needs to be addressed.
Last Updated
Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12 (Copyright © 2004 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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