It seems like just about every kid in America has belonged to a youth sports team for at least one season at some point, but a majority of those kids aren’t going to go on to play on their high school teams. At some point, every youth athlete has to decide if belonging to a youth sports organization is something they really want to do or if they want to quit. While there is nothing wrong with a child wanting to quit youth sports, here are a few things sports parents should do if their child decides they want to quit.
Find out why they want to quit…really why.
Is your child no longer having fun? Do they want to quit because they don’t know anyone on the team? Do they not like the coach? Do they want to try a different sport? Would they rather be doing another extracurricular activity? Do they feel like they aren’t good enough for the team? If you can find out the real reason they want to quit their youth sports team you might be able to come up with a solution.
Talk to the coach.
The coach might be able to help you better understand your child’s role on the team. Does he/she notice that your child is having a hard time keeping up with the level of play? Are they distracted at practice? How well do they interact with the other players? It always helps to get another point of view so you can better understand why your child might no longer be interested in youth sports. You also want to make sure the coach isn’t caught by surprise if your child stops coming to practice one day midway through the season. A lot of coaches blame themselves if a player quits the team, and if it isn’t their fault (maybe your child would just rather learn an instrument than play lacrosse) you don’t want them to be stuck with the guilt.
Decide if it’s worth the battle.
If the season hasn’t started yet, quitting youth sports is relatively simple. However, if you’re a month in with two months to go you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. You might decide that since your child is a part of a youth sports team, they have a responsibility to that team and need to finish out the season. Explain that they don’t have to play next year, but since they made a commitment they have to stick it out. One of the valuable life lessons youth sports teaches kids is to honor their obligations and see something through to the end.
Let them quit.
It might sound crazy, but sometimes letting your child quit sports is the right thing to do. You never want to pressure your child into playing youth sports, especially when they are miserable every step of the way. If their health or school work seems to be negatively affected by belonging to a youth sports team, it’s probably not worth sticking around for much longer.