Richard Richie Kerster HeadshotThrough youth sports, children learn about taking direction and working with others, as well as discipline, coordination and motor skills. They also build camaraderie, self-confidence and belief.

Starting your child at a young age in sports and activity will be beneficial to getting those learning and coordination blocks out of the way. Children who are sharper and more efficient at sports are usually the ones who began sports activities at a young age. They have built a foundation that helps them understand directions, which helps them make coordinated movements more quickly and get the hang of the movements faster. These children become more confident and eventually feel joy and excitement to do more—that’s when your child will really begin to excel.

However, there will always be a block or plateau in learning that can be frustrating for your child. Parents watch the mistakes roll over one after the other, but once your child can get through that adversity, they can keep those moments with them to do better and get through their next block quicker. These obstacles help them become a better athlete or player and build character.

Today, everything is about getting things done quickly, but that can’t always be the route we take to teach our youth. Perhaps little Johnny had a tough time at practice, so he quit. Your job as a parent needs to be to steer the child in the right direction and build a strong and determined mindset. At the end of the day, it’s mind over matter, so be prepared for repetitive mistakes.

You can start your child in recreational sports, where they can get a feel for the activity and have fun and learn to enjoy it. From there, you can start to find extra coaching or training to amplify the details to their game. Once you start to see your child improve, they might be ready to take on a tougher workout and competitions, and you can move them into a travel or competitive team setting.

Years later, they can try an elite league or team. Bumping it up a notch, think about where they will go to high school, which can lead to academic and sport scholarships. Their goal doesn’t have to be to become a super athlete, but the more they excel, the more it helps with social connections.

Parents need to be there to support their children, not break them down. Give them the best chance to excel.