As the parent of a high level student athlete, I know very well how difficult it is to navigate the highs and lows that come along with being an athlete nowadays. Back when I was a kid, it seemed simpler, more straightforward. These days there are so many more aspects you need to consider: camps, personal training, nutritional needs, attending the right tournaments to get in front of scouts and finding the right coaches to help your kid succeed. Not to mention the cost associated with all of this!
Who would have thought 9 years ago when we signed our son up to play lacrosse that we would be where we are today. Keep in mind when we heard about box lacrosse we had no idea what it was or where it would take us over the years. We thought it would be a great sport for him to burn off energy, and it honestly was the best thing we ever could have done for him. It has taught him how to be a team player, how to handle loss and challenges and given him so many opportunities he never would have had otherwise.
For anyone who is the parent of a student athlete, here are some important things you should know:
- Remember they are not you – they are their own person and will have challenges in their lives and during sports and they will need you to be there for support. You can’t always fix everything (and nor should you). They need to learn how to handle adversity and if you are always stepping in to fix things for them, they will never learn how to adapt.
- Always remember that they are a student first- their education is top priority.
- Be there for them emotionally as there will be times in their career where they need you more than they are willing to admit.
- Always be their biggest cheerleader but also be realistic – not every kid will make it professionally and that is ok. Sometimes just playing the sport they love is enough.
- Rest and self care is so important – the last thing you want is for them to be burned out and end up resenting the sport.
- Find a support team that can help keep your kid healthy – chiropractor, kinesiologist, massage therapist and a physiotherapist. They are all important aspects to their physical health and to help prevent injury. If they do get injured (which is bound to happen), you know that they are in good hands in their recovery process.
- There might be times where your child is overwhelmed and stressed – don’t be ashamed to get them help with a counselor to help them navigate difficult situations.
- Be willing to make sacrifices in order for them to achieve their dreams – trust me it will be worth it
Since he began playing, we have been traveled all over the US to tournaments, met so many people and made so many friends who have become family. By supporting our son, he has gotten amazing opportunities – he is currently living on the east coast of Canada chasing his dreams to attend college in the US for mechanical engineering.