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Supporting your Children with Sports

Behaviour is learnt. We as parents and adults set the model out for children aspire to, or rebel against…


So where do you draw the line from supportive, pushy parent or embarrassing parent?

I am into contact sports but my eldest child isn’t. I try and set a good example and encourage him, so after going through the classic sampling phase where children try a range of sports, he has found his sports in fencing and climbing – he also loves swimming and tennis, my youngest is into rugby and judo as well as tennis. As cricket starts, I am sure they will be playing that too. Both know they can stop if they want too but if they want to do more, both me and my ex there to support. It is important they do some activity either a team or individual sport, in and out of school. I don’t know if what I am doing is right, I just know that it is working for now.

So as parents, what should we be doing? Are we setting examples of promoting healthy living but not demonstrating it ourselves?

Both I and my partner still compete in Judo and BJJ, so we train a lot and my boys are use to gyms, exercise classes and long walks, as well as healthy eating and working to goals and gaining success. Exercise is an everyday thing with me and my ex swims and takes the boys on long walks.

As a sports coach I see different types of parents: there are parents living their life and sporting desires through their children, there are those who expect a child to play the sports they do regardless of the child’s desires, there are those who believe regardless of any other indicators their child is the best in the world…and there are those who will argue every decision in a game as if the referee is blind, stupid and wasn’t watching the match. I believe it is these three parental behaviours that are destructive to a child’s engagement in sport.

As a parent and coach I use a technique that is of always immediately focusing on the positives of a game. I ask a child how they felt the game went and then provide positive feedback, even if it is on effort or the one good moment in the game. It is quite interesting that positive behaviours are the same regardless of the context: teaching, coaching and parenting. How many children and young are put off sport, education or even politics because of the negative behaviours and attitudes of those around them? It might seem obvious to some and not to others, but behaviours are created – they are nurtured and if we don’t encourage them, well whether it is sport or general manners, if we don’t model them properly, how are our children and young adults going to grow?

I have a saying (I have many) …

I either win or I learn!

Sport teaches many life skills beyond health living and the long term benefits of exercise.


Till next week




The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the blogger and do not necessarily represent the views of

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