Wake Up Call for Aspiring Athletes

Plenty of parents want their child to play sports, and some kids even excel. And anyone who hangs around long enough knows that parents of Olympic level athletes share a common story of early morning practices, and the dedication shared by the family.

I heard the best commitment strategy idea for aspiring young athletes who start the challenging but important early morning training schedule of their chosen sport.

“Wake me up to get you to practice.”

Let the young athlete set the alarm, climb out of bed, and perhaps even get the coffee brewing. Let the young athlete get their gear together and fuel up with a smart breakfast. When the young athlete is ready, wake up dad or mom.

Let the young athlete own the commitment, and the parent can support them.

Every sport parent knows about the early morning routine. It’s a chore made worse by the fact that we feel we’re more committed to success than our children. We’ll defend it in the context of ‘helping them succeed’, but in reality we’re protecting them from the consequences of their lack of commitment—the disappointed coach; the weaker performance; the missed victory; the frustrated team.

I don’t think it applies to all situations, and certainly requires an advanced level of athletic performance and success. This is only for the athlete who chooses intensity.

Parents of athletes don’t always know where to draw the line between a child’s activity and a parent’s activity. It’s easy to see situations where the commitment to winning is more important to the adult. This switches it around and gives the sport—and all the effort required to win—back to the athlete.

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5 Responses to Wake Up Call for Aspiring Athletes

  1. Ben Garfinkel says:

    This is brilliant. While our five year old daughter is not really on a sports trajectory (that we can see anyway), there is wisdom in this for almost any activity that will engender our kids’ own passions. Lovely.

    • Stephen Abbott says:

      I like it for how the support is still there, but the commitment rests with the child. The parent’s commitment is to the child’s development, not the sport. In the younger years we must push them into experiences merely for the sake of experiences, but when the balance shifts, so does ownership or the effort. Now, …funding that effort is a whole different story.

      Thanks for the comment.

  2. Ideas4Dads says:

    Hi there
    I really like this approach. I played national badminton and my wife national swimming and our folks carted us around the country to train and compete. I have mixed feelings about competitive sport for children. On the positive it was great for my health, wellbeing and team working skills but on the negative side when I suddenly stopped in my late teens when girls, beer and smoking came along my health and wellbeing plummeted for what I think was because my body was so conditioned for exercise, when I stopped the wheels fell off.

    Was I pushed too much by my parents I dont think so reflecting back but I will certainly be employing some of these approaches when my kids get older.

    Take care and thanks for this post 🙂

    • Stephen Abbott says:

      Thanks for the comment. I, too, was active in sports when I was younger (I swam at a jr national level), and realize now how much effort my parents contributed. I think the positives of sport outweigh the negatives for youth, but only if there is mental as well as physical training. And this includes the parents; I’ve seen plenty of parents wrap their identity in their child’s sport. Also, it can’t come at the expense of education, but that is a whole other blog post.

      • Ideas4Dads says:

        Couldnt agree more. I will be writing on considering whether you are trying to achieve success and plaudts through your kids activities. Ditto indertanding mental health and sport psychology 🙂

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