There are :(1) look for a program that emphasizes skill development over winning; (2) look for sports activities your child will enjoy; and (3) ask whether your under-12 child needs to participate in competitive sports at all.
No adult involved in American youth soccer scene deliberately sets out to destroy the love of the game for the players. Rather, they often get caught up in the anxiety of the moment and do not have the skills to handle the pressure and consequently act out or speak inappropriately. When referees, coaches and players are able to stay in the zone of optimal performance, then the atmosphere provides for a high level of enjoyable soccer. The love of the game is strengthened.
Sports psychologist Dr. Casey Cooper says there are a variety of circumstances that might prompt parents to consider seeking help for their child from a sports psychologist but performance enhancement is way down the list.
If the world were a perfect place, talking to a youth sports coach would be as natural and stress free as talking to your child's teacher. Unfortunately, there is not much that worries and confuses some parents more. Here's advice on how to take the stress out of the experience.
Some people are under the impression that asserting oneself is "unladylike" or "improper". In reality, however, learning how to be assertive can give you a sense of inner integrity. Being assertive is the ability to express feelings, to say "no", to ask favors, to question the coach. How does one learn to get what they deserve in an appropriate way? You need to develop an assertive approach that enables you to act in your own best interests- in a comfortable manner. You have to have a "game plan' for the next situation that arises.
By age 12, girls are six times more likely to drop out of sports than boys. Why? One of the reasons, say experts, is that girls simply do not receive as much positive reinforcement about their sports participation as boys. Boys get to see male athletes on televised sports; they can see their photos in newspapers and magazines; and there are plenty of books for boys about male sports heroes. Boys learn at a very young age that it is not only okay to enjoy sports but that their success will be supported by their families and society. Girls see far fewer female athletes on television; coverage of women's sports in newspapers and magazines, while increasing, is far less than that given to men's college and professional sports. There are very few books for girls about female sports heroes that girls can read as they grow up; athletes whose success our daughters will want emulate and see as role models.