How to Have an AWESOME Start to the Upcoming School Sports Season
Believe it or not kids will be back in school in just a few weeks, meaning fall school sports practices are already underway. Getting ready for the start of games is an exciting time for student athletes, but it can also be a stressful time, especially when factoring in all the sudden changes that occur at the end of summer/beginning of fall. Time management, communication, and decision-making skills are just three of the more important life skills kids need to rely on if they are to experience success not only in the classroom, but also on the playing field.
A busy time of year…
A lot happens at the start of the school year, including getting used to new classes, completing homework assignments, participating in social/academic clubs and activities, and preparing for the SAT/ACT for juniors and seniors. For student athletes, there’s yet another big responsibility that begins with the start of school — competing in their sport, which often requires a huge time commitment in and of itself. It is for these reasons that parents and coaches prepare for atypical stress levels experienced by student athletes, especially within the first few weeks of the new school year.
How you can help
Fortunately, there are healthy and effective ways to respond to these new challenges and stressors that will allow student athletes to start off the new school year on the right foot. If you are the parent of a student athlete and want to do your part in helping prepare for the big transition back to school, sit down with your child in the weeks ahead and take the time to talk about the upcoming challenges.
To help you prepare for your chat, consider the following tips and pointers to help you get started:
- Talk early and often and PREPARE. Help student athletes prepare for the increase in their schedule as school starts, and talk specifically about stressors likely to occur (i.e. a big game on the very first day of school).
- Develop a time management system. Student athletes will benefit by having a way to schedule all their responsibilities and activities – an old fashioned planner will work, as will various modern-day apps available on smart phones today.
- Communicate. Help student athletes gain the confidence and skills needed to approach teachers and coaches when conflicts arise — common occurrences this time of year.
- Teach stress-coping skills. Helping student athletes learn about positive self-talk, deep breathing, and taking down-time breaks can pay big dividends when it comes to dealing with stress. Also, emphasize the value of simply talking to someone, including parents, teachers, counselors, or friends.
- Seek professional help when needed. If you fear that a youngster is dealing with an unusual amount of stress and not handling it well, consider looking at professional counseling services in your area for help. Kids have a lot on their plates these days, and having a trained professional intervene can often make a big difference.
Check out our Tool Kits to help jump start the 2015-16 school year!