Youth Sports Goal Settings
New Year's day means different things to different people.
Certainly, spending time with family and friends and watching
some great college bowl games. In our house, a new year also
means making resolutions.
It started about 15 years ago when my wife and I were on a
ski trip together - before kids. It was one of those days
in Taos, New Mexico where the snow was coming down so heavy
that you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. For
some people, the fresh powder might make for great snow conditions,
but for us, it was a great day to sit by the huge fire in
the ski lodge and "plan our lives".
We had a great talk that included when we wanted to have kids,
financial planning and lots of resolutions - including our
goals for work, working out, sports, and how we wanted to
work out our relationships with the people in our lives. Believe
it or not, we sat there for 9 hours and we had fun doing it.
Now, every year, we talk about goals with our kids.
All of our kids already have goals, but they may not share
them with us. Our job as parents is to help them focus on
the correct goals, help them achieve their goals, and later,
we need to help them deal with the disappointment of not reaching
Goal Setting With Kids
The first thing we need to work on with all of our kids
is education. For each kid, at every age, they can focus on
their schoolwork; improve their skills, and getting their
homework done on time. Of course, they can also work on their
relationships with parents and their siblings - something
that never seems exactly where it should be. However, as you
know, we at SportsKids are all about youth sports - so let's
focus on sports.
All the kids I know say they are going to be professional
athletes. Now, there are some kids who say they are going
to be doctors, lawyers, business people, the president of
the United States, or something else, but again, this is SportsKids.
My eight year old son, who doesn't really know who Danny Ainge
is, wants to follow in his footsteps and be both a professional
basketball player as well as a professional baseball player.
Now, maybe some of our kids will end up being professional
athletes, but the statistics say otherwise. Most kids won't
be playing organized sports past the age of 12. Very few high
school athletes will ever play NCAA Division I sports and
almost none of those will ever play professionally. Knowing
this, of course, shouldn't diminish our kid's dreams - that's
what they are supposed to be doing - dreaming! So, as parents
we have to help our kids reach their potential.
How Should We Help Our Kids?
Keith Hirabayashi is a good friend of mine. Many of you
may not know who Keith is, but if you like martial arts you
would know; he has been five time Grand Champion at the US
World and US Open Karate Tournaments. He was named Weapons
Competitor of the Decade, thanks to his expertise with the
staff, the broadsword, and the three-sectional staff. He's
a member of The Black Belt Hall of Fame, The Inside Kung-Fu
Hall of Fame, and The Fighter Hall of Fame. In addition, he's
been listed among the 100 Most Influential Martial Artists
of the Last Century by Black Belt magazine. I've had many
talks with Keith about goal setting and how he reached the
pinnacle of his sport.
Nobody who starts out is great their first day, but they can
think big. The trick, as Keith taught me, is to break your
dream into manageable steps - something that's hard to do,
but achievable. When Mr. Hirabayashi first started Wushu as
a boy, he couldn't envision becoming "Competitor Of The Year"
so he started with something easier. There was a kid in his
class who was "great". So, Keith wanted to one day be as good
as that guy. One day, he was that good. Then, he wanted to
be as good as the assistant teacher.
Finally, he surpassed his teacher, became the best in the
world and now founded Champions Martial Arts, a studio in
In order to accomplish each of these resolutions and goals,
there are a few rules that you need to follow. You need to
know what you are trying to accomplish. The goal needs to
be specific, measurable, and have a time limit. A person also
needs to know why they want to reach the goal and then lay
out a real, manageable plan on how to accomplish their goal.
Being a great martial artist, or being great at anything,
requires a plan. Start by setting small goals to ultimately
reach a larger goal and understand each step. A kid needs
to layout a plan for practice, competition and study of their
sport. Realizing that practice makes permanent, parents need
to make sure their kids are practicing the right fundamentals.
Playing a sport only during the organized practices and the
games won't get a kid to reach their potential. If your child
plays an instrument, you wouldn't allow them to not practice
between lessons. "Pistol" Pete Maravich, one of the 50 greatest
NBA players, practiced literally all the time because he knew
that some other kid was practicing and getting better than
he was. Set small, measurable and achievable goals, lay out
a path of how the goals will be accomplished, and then watch
Dealing With Disappointment
Starting with the premise that our kids aren't going to
reach their ultimate goal of becoming a professional athlete
should in no way diminish the benefits of dreaming, setting
goals, and working to accomplish each of the resolutions.
It's imperative not to forget the many benefits to playing
youth sports, including teamwork, good sportsmanship, developing
motor skills, learning to win and to lose, and the friendships
that are created along the way. Most of our kids will figure
out and realize for themselves that they won't be a professional
athlete, but if we help them set small, achievable goals,
practice proper fundamentals, and set out a specific plan
to accomplish their goals, all of them will benefit and maybe
some will actually be able to fulfill their dreams. It all
starts by setting your New Year's resolutions.
Copyright Ken Kaiserman - http://www.sportskids.com
Ken Kaiserman is the president of SportsKids.com
, a leading youth sports website featuring games, sports news,
sports camp and league directories, community features, and
Kid Sports with over 150,000 products.
Ken coaches youth football, basketball and baseball. He also
serves on the local little league board of directors as well
as the Park Advisory Board. You can read and subscribe to
the SportsKids blogs at http://www.kidstore.blogspot.com
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