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Monday, February 16, 2015

Pushing children

Kids need to be pushed at sport and adapt learn to cope with sport pressures. After all this is the best way for them to gain self confidence and be  prepared for  life’s pressures later on. Sport is one of lifes best teachers about oneself and the limits one can achieve.  Regards  Tim


Totally agree with your comments.  Every child is different and shouldn't be made to feel inferior if he/she is not the best sportsperson or top of the class. ALL CHILDREN ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT AND HAVE THE SAME VALUE.  They should be encouraged to do THEIR best and not be compared to others.  The most important characters to teach a child is to be a fair person who tries their best, works hard and treats others with respect.


This is one of my favourite subjects - its a particular concern in ZW as most have no CLUE about Long Term Athlete Development - we are all looking for teenage superstars and

we are  constantly jeopardising the long term future of the athlete – that’s why we have so many talented school kids who never make it as elite level athletes.


You are 200% correct. There seems to be an idea that all kids should be pushed to their limit in Zimbabwe. Around the world all pro athletes started at very very young ages and I think a lot of people feel if they push their kids hard at a young athlete they will become or have a chance to become pro athletes. Reality is that most pro athletes have been identified at a young age as having a skill or gift better than those around them and they are hand-picked and trained by professionals to get the best out of their ability without injury or risk to their health. They become pros.
As you, all my friends at school who were in the 1st teams and Zim teams left school and took a break from the harsh training environment and surprise surprise they never picked it up again. They were bored or burnt out. Those that took a more social approach to sport are still playing sport and keeping fit 20 years after school. In fact some of those who played very little at school went on to represent our national sides after school. So my opinion, unless you have a child who stands head and shoulders above the rest and clearly has the potential to do great things with sport as a profession, don't burn your child out and give them unrealistic expectations. It's not fair on your kids. Let them enjoy their sports at the level they are capable and at the level where it's fun for them. Sean


I think that children should be encouraged to ENJOY sport – and if they have any natural talent this will come through and then they can decide what to do with it.  Too many children lose out on their [never to be recovered] childhood years due to pressure from parents. Linda


Hear hear – well done!!!  My daughter was a very good tennis player but I let her decide what her future would be.  She didn’t pursue a tennis career but still enjoys playing social tennis to this day.  There’s nothing worse than seeing pushy parents and you’ve got to feel for the poor kids….  As you say – parents want to live their dreams through their children.


I was perhaps blest by parents who led by example.    They always demanded that I do my best but recognized that I was human.    I try to do the same to my children.   We are not here to live through our children, but to give them the tools to be successful, responsible members of society.  This we can only do by being that ourselves.    


Yes I have seen some parents pushing their kids too hard and it’s ridiculous.  Some of our children have amazing sport talents and all that is required is good healthy encouragement.   One of my children has continued playing sport competitively into her university days and still loves the sport tremendously.   Incidentally we did not push her.  It was her choice.


Hi Mike - You have raised some great points, and I couldn't agree with your more that many parents push their kids too hard.  To the detriment of our children we have become a parenting generation of 'To Much, To Soon' - both in the classroom and on the sports field.  But the cause is not helped by our schools who will push a 'good' Grade 2 up to play in a Grade 3 tournament ... even thought there are a few Grade 3's who would like to have played.  Schools should be practicing and encouraging DAP (Developmentally Appropriate Practices) by fielding more 'developmental' cricket teams and less 'Colts' teams.  Sport against other schools (Colts and Fillies) should be reserved for Grade 5's (and perhaps the odd brilliant Grade 4!).  Many parents (and teachers) push kids to the next level before their foundational skills are in place.  Children need to be children, and their childhoods should not be rushed.  You might find the attached article of interest.  J

 Regards, Jeanine

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