Girls & Sports - Alleviating those first day sports program jitters
By Game On Sports Camp on March 17, 2010
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Girls Sports – Alleviating First Day Program Jitters
March 17, 2010 by gameonsportscamp
It’s that first day. For the last couple of hours, on top of the past few days, you have been making reference to how much fun she will have. You are somewhat worried that she may be reluctant to take those first few steps onto the court or field. So you have resorted to psych up tactics.
You pull up to the sports arena, exit the car, and it happens – she freezes, going into clutch mode. That dreaded leg hug that conveys the message, “No way I’m setting foot in that gym!”
Sometimes the timid or apprehensive behavior stems from fear of the unexpected and unfamiliar. Other times, it is a panic that sets in from the common mindset that she is walking into a group of strangers who all know each other and “are good players” in comparison. Whether based on perception or reality, the first experience can be intimidating.
What’s a parent to do? Whether you are dealing with a shy personality or insecurity, you have many reasons why you know this program will be a healthy endeavor for your young daughter. Short of physically dragging her, how might you convince her to give it a try? 5 tips on the way:
The common thread to these 5 tips is instilling confidence and a sense of comfort.
1) Sign up for the class with a good friend if possible. Taking the plunge with that buddy is sure to alleviate some of that stranger anxiety;
2) Parents themselves can help her practice some of the fundamentals prior to the start of the program so that some of that unfamiliar becomes familiar;
3) If you can afford it, give your daughter a few private lessons prior to the start of the sports program. Many programs are willing to cut you a deal for those lessons if they know it might lead to registration for an entire program. The ideal situation is to request that one of the coaches of the program conduct the privates. There is nothing like receiving a warm hello by name from the program instructor on that first day.
4) Try and attend a few high school, collegiate, or professional matches or games in the sport prior to the start of her program. That way she can get a good feel for the fundamentals, strategy, and spirit of the game.
5) During play dates with her friends, if appropriate, encourage them to have some fun by fooling around with the sport. For example, if your daughter is about to start a softball clinic, have her throw the ball around with her friend or play running bases with the group. For most sports, you can always help to set up a fun obstacle course either outside or in your basement that sets just the right mood.
As always, hope this information is useful and I look forward to your feedback and suggestions.
And have fun staying active.
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