Children's Sports Psychology
According to the authors of The Handbook of Sport Psychology the problems in sports are on the rise, but the number of athletes is diminishing (p.435). Are these problems the barrier and reason to why parents do not send their children in sports? Or are the children choosing not to play based on lack interest or since they too see the problems? Despite the "dark sides" of sports, including the "fine line" of aggression, and competition levels, Parents should be aware of the benefits like fun, teamwork, and physical exercise in their younger children, who play sports. In a newspaper article from the Vancouver Sun, there was an article about two fathers fighting in the stands, over a call made by the referee in a hockey game. Their words came eventually to blows and as a result one father killed the other. This is one of the problems stemming from over specialization, the practice of encouraging a child at young age to specialize in one sport and become extremely good at that particular game. The parents involved had their children playing in the Peewee division, the youngest division in hockey. These parents bent on making their child the best ruined their lives and those related to them, through this stupid act of violence. Shane Murphy writes in his book, The cheers and the tears (p.12) the reason why parents act this way is not because they are bad parents. This results from strong emotions aroused in a parent, by seeing your child, your flesh and blood locked in a competitive struggle with other athletes. Shane is also convinced ego is involved, stating those parents who have a problem with their ego being crushed when child looses a game, would be better of at home than to come out to the ball field to support their child (p.12). Some hints to parents with children in sports is to; provided money to buy equipment, and regularly attend games. Accompany the child to major league games, and advise them that they can be as good as the stars. Practice regularly not only with your child but with his or her teammates as well. When correcting use positive measures and allow the child to learn at his or her own pace (Sports Psychology hand book p.134). Specialization in sports is not only bad for the children who are training to be the best, but it also has a negative affect on those children who are trying to play along side him or her. The children who are underdeveloped suffer, since they are never chosen for teams, or are left on the bench. It could be that in reality both players share equal potential and maybe equal ability, but what is not equal is access on the field. This occurs a lot with children as they reach puberty. Those children in the same grade who start early have an advantage, since they have the looks of a fifteen year old, and the "Late Bloomers" have the look of a nine year old. The "Late Bloomers" are left behind and their hidden skills never developed until they reach puberty, unless in the worst case, they quit before they reach puberty. Moving on to the topic of opposite sex participation in sport, we can see many gender differences in sport, and some of this causing again, more problems in this atmosphere. With the knowledge of different motivators and interactions between genders parents can avoid potential problems by knowing where to look for them. The European Federation of Spot Psychology has conducted many surveys and studies on this topic and written a couple of articles, one being Gender and Sports Participation. A general example of differences between genders is that males in sport are generally driven and motivated to succeed in a sport, contrary to girls who are driven and motivated to avoid failure. Another example that can be a potential problem is the different connections are made in sports. Contrary to males who create relationships with their teammates, females tent to bond better with their coaches. For the most part this does not pose a problem,...
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