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At whatever age the child begins participating in sports, whether it be 6, 11 or as a teen in high school, much of the child's athletic success depends on the support provided by the child's parent(s), family and circle of friends. However, many athletes are able to succeed without supportive extended family and friends, but the parent(s) play a large role in the child's long term success. No doubt about it!

Many parents put undue pressure on their child to excel and succeed early on in their child's athletic career. Some even resort to threats and or intimidation of all kinds. They completely withdraw support and expect the child to go it alone. It's no wonder so many talented children who started out playing sports at a young age quit before high school. Such negative behavior serves only to strike fear in the heart of the child, strip him of all courage and desire to compete.

A child's first experience with sports should be relaxed and fun! The parent's role? To be enthusiastic about the child's performance, whether poor, mediocre or excellent! Offer encouragement and support by providing positive feedback on his/her performances, and purchasing all equipment needed for developing his/her abilities. Ask for the child's best and praise him for his efforts! Let your child have as much fun with it as possible! Back your child up when other adults or children make negative comments of your child's performance. Be there for your child every step of the way.

Should the child have the drive to excel in his sport than talk with him/her about the paying the price of success, "hard work = success." Provide sympathy if the child did less than excellent, and reminders that "hard work will pay off in the long run". Provide resources for the child to study & learn his sport. Borrow from the library, or purchase, books and videos. Use a videocamera to videotape his/her game, practice, competitions, so that he/she can evaluate his performance and develop technique and strategy. Talk with the coach and on ways you can assist your child offseason. When your child becomes a teen in highschool start work on sending his athletic profile packet (profile, coach references, video,Sat scores, etc.) and yearly updates to many colleges & universities. You will be helping ensure his future in athletics. Your child will be eternally grateful!

Most importantly is the parent's role to love their child no matter how he or she performs during practices or competitions. The best thing you can give your child is "your faith", your belief in him and his ability. By following these tips on nurturing your child's desire to excell you have shown him your faith. This faith will give strength to your child all the days of their athletic career.