Being a parent is one of the toughest – and most rewarding – jobs in the world. We rise and fall with their achievements, whether it’s a school play in grade school or getting into their desired Ivy League University. When our offspring decides to take up a sport, we grow, learn, win and lose right along with them. Youth wrestling is one of the toughest sports in terms of individual expectations and achievement, but can be among the most rewarding in terms of the wide skillset learned which is applicable everything else they’ll ever do. Plus, most importantly, it can be a way to bring parents and children closer.
If you are going to embark upon a youth wrestling journey with your child, you’ll want to develop a plan to ensure maximum growth, realistic expectations, and safe passage from one level of the sport to the other. Let’s check out a few ideas which help make this youth wrestling journey a successful one.
Create both kinds of goals
Short term goals come first. Create a series of month-long or season-long goals which you will work to accomplish each year. They should be realistic and sometimes a tad lofty, but never unachievable. “Improve takedowns” or “make the varsity team” are wonderful short-term goal. Next, line up some long term goals, or “wrestling career” objectives which can be adjusted each year based upon growth, achievement and other events unforeseen. “Win my weight class at state championships” or “Achieve top 5 ranking” are terrific long-term goals to set.
Create an action plan
Once you have the goals, map out the training, workload, and benchmarks which will lead you on this path to success. You don’t go from beginner to state champ overnight. Mastery of the movements, developing of awesome conditioning, and study of higher level objectives are all things which need to be done before you’ll reach the loftier goals. Write out the steps you’ll have to take to get there.
Keep it in perspective
Your child is competing in a very tough sport. And his or her achievements matter. But real life is tougher, and real life matters more. Dont’t miss the big moments in life due to wrestling commitments. Never fear a small break from the sport you love if family or other real-life obligations arise. Use youth wrestling as a tool to make your other dreams in life come true, not as an obstacle to stand in the way of their accomplishment.
Always keep it fun!
This is perhaps the most important point to made. Don’t put your child into youth wrestling because you want him to be in the Olympics in fifteen years. Enter your child into the sport to have fun, make friends, develop skills – anything beyond that is just a bonus. Laugh, smile, and have fun. Enjoy every second of the journey that youth wrestling has to offer!