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Thursday, November 26, 2009

When Your Child's Sport Becomes A Job...


When my youngest daughter, Kara was seven (7) she went to her first gymnastics class - I thought it would be a fun thing to do on Saturday mornings..... Within two (2) months - one of the coaches came up to me and asked if she could have my Kara in her Tuesday and Thursday class - she thought Kara had a natural talent... So I asked Kara if she would like to do it and she did... Within six (6) months - the owner of the gym came to me and said Kara had a lot of talent and would she be interested in going to a level 4 gymnastics team... So I asked Kara and she did - now Kara was at the gym - Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings - six hours a week...

Kara's first competition was on her eighth birthday - She placed 2nd All around.... The following four competitions - she placed 1st. Right after her level 4 season - she was moved up to level 5 - again she was a star - she was also one of the youngest in her level... She did great.. She had fun until.... She got the coach from hell - this coach was a lunatic and sucked out all the joy and confidence Kara had - Gymnastics became a job and not a sport - that she enjoyed.... Around this time a new gym was looking for young gymnasts with Kara's talent - we spoke to the head coach and immediately was invited to join... He was a coach that had brought several girls to the Olympics -
There were other coaches that worked with the girls as well - each coach was different and more difficult.... Now the training was in upwards of 16 hours a week - sometimes more.. The joy had left Kara - she knew she could quit at anytime - this was for her and not for me.... Finally in the middle of one classes - she jumped off the beam - walked over to me and said "I'm done" The coaches were upset - one tried in vain to talk her into staying... several times.. but Kara has a strong will - stronger than anyone I know - She held onto what she did and did not want.... She quit at the ripe old age of nine (9) and today almost 3 years later -she has no regrets...

I think it is important as parents to allow our children to try different sports. To allow them to find that perfect fit if there is one.... That is not to say we should allow our kids to try something and give up right away - They need to at least make the effort... I also think it's very important to step back - let our kids make the decision to stay or go.. Step back to allow them to fight their own battles... demons if need be - I'm not saying leave them hanging - but give them the opportunity to make wise decisions and/or mistakes and learn from them...






1 comment:

  1. Love those pics of your daughter! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    ReplyDelete

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