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Parenting the athletically gifted??

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
If I had questions or wanted feedback on my athletically gifted child/ren would I post here? Does anyone else here have atheletically gifted child/ren? I have so many questions about how much is too much, competition, expectations, the not as athletically gifted siblings etc etc.
post #2 of 17
Yes, I think it is similar to academic issues and many of us have children who are both academically and athletically gifted. You can also find sport-specific bulletin boards where you will find similarly situated moms. E.g., chalkbucket.com's parent forum.
post #3 of 17
I was athletically gifted.

Personally I think much of it stemmed from a competietive personality, superior v/s intelligence, and loads of perseverence.

I had a love for all sports. But, for some reason, soccer became my sport. I was picked up by a select team in second grade. We practiced way to much and traveled too far. I did not like it. I burned out a bit.

In highschool I played a sport for every season as well as highly competetive club sports at the same time. It was not unusual for me to get done with soccer practice at the HS and then go straight to a club softball game. I thrived in this situation. (don't think your kids can't) I took the hardest cours load on top of sports and was top of my class. I was the top scholar athlete in the metro area.

But, by junior year I started to feel pressure from college scouts. I did not like it. I told all my coaches that I wanted to focus on academics. Everyone believed this because I did have high marks and test scores. I ended up with a academic scholarship so no one made too big a fuss.

This was the biggest regret of my life.

Everyone made such a big deal about what team I was going to play for and what amount of scholorship I would get. But, no one reminded me that I actually loved playing the sport and should continue playing for the sake of fun.

I missed out on 4 more years of doing something I loved. This is just one cautionary tale.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
we have a VERY athletic family including my dh and myself except for my oldest dsd and of course the 8 month old baby. My dh is a pusher and I honestly am as well and I think we may have given her the impression that it wasn't ok to rest, take a break, or just plain old quit. My dsd2 is at a highschool now on a scholarship honestly based on her abilities to preform at cheerleading. She also plays softball and runs track. I'm just beginning to see a 14yo talking about alot of things like the pain in her hip (she was dropped in a stunt 2 years ago) hurting when it rains, or her shoulder popping out of socket on a regular basis. I sigh and think well maybe we could slow down on the competition aspect and play it a little safer, then the college issues start coming up. Because we live in a college town with a extremely successful college cheer squad, our competition cheer squad trains with and is coached by a college cheerleader. DSD is very well aware of what "tricks" she's gotta hit and she is, we've been paying for a tumbling coach since she was 3. but is pressuring us for more very expensive co-ed stunt sessions to master her stunts for college. Did I mention she was 14. Then there are the weight issues. Can't be over 115lbs cause fat girls don't fly far. Didn't know 116 was fat. Started drinking coffee cause she's 5'3 and thats the height limit and she heard coffee would stunt her growth. How do you get your child to back off to a healthy limit of love of a sport? Do you force your child to take a break?
post #5 of 17
I was a nationally ranked athlete. I would say to be very careful in regards to your children's long term physical health. Due to over zealous coaches and trainers I have lifelong shoulder issues from too early weight training. A few teenage victories are not worth decades of pain.

I think like all things in life, balance is key. The highly successful athlete has tons of internal drive. A parent's role may be more to provide the brakes when necessary to protect the child's health.

Before the last olympics I used to read about a very successful homeschooled athlete. She went to the olympics and earned a medal. Her mom was very clear that if they had it to do all over again, none of the family would have traveled that path again. She felt very clearly that the cost was not worth it, despite her daughter's tremendous success.

I know some sports require a certain weight limit. However, I would talk to my child often about how having a healthy weight for you is most important. If a healthy weight is too much for the desired sport, I would gently help them find a different way to compete in a different arena.
post #6 of 17
I do have an athletically gifted child but she is much younger then your DD2. I worry that some day we will be in you shoes. DD1 is 7 and excels at sports, she is in advanced gymnastics twice a week year around, she is down to just one dance class, tap which of course she is an older class for. She does swim team in the summer and fall and then snowboarding in the winter/spring. I am going to hold her off from the snowboarding team for another year, she goes down runs that I wouldn't go down and I have been skiing/boarding my whole life! I know the gymnastics team will be coming up soon as well.

For me it is a hard line of the rest of the family getting dragged around for DD1's sports but then supporting her desires. I am not a pusher, neither is DH but DD1 has very strong desires to be active. I do want to encourage and support her because she struggles in other area of her life, dyslexic with anxiety issues so there are many things that she can not do but sports she can.

Back to your DD2. I just read an article about this the other day, I ahve no idea where it was at but it was about how sports are much more intense at too young of an age. Injuries are occurring in children that will haunt them for the rest of their life. It did suggest taking training breaks throughout the year to allow the body to rest. One family interviewed took off an entire month once a year where the teen was only allowed to go to the gym to workout but no playing her sport to allow her body some down time. She was older then your DD2. At 14 I might wonder about taking a semester off, see if this is still what she wants, maybe she doesn't know what she wants anymore. The body image factor is quite concerning as well.
post #7 of 17
Wow, glad to see this thread. My ds is four and is athletically gifted. We have yet to put him in any kind of organized sports...yet. Subbing and coming back later.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peony View Post
For me it is a hard line of the rest of the family getting dragged around for DD1's sports but then supporting her desires. I am not a pusher, neither is DH but DD1 has very strong desires to be active. I do want to encourage and support her because she struggles in other area of her life, dyslexic with anxiety issues so there are many things that she can not do but sports she can.
My dsd#1 (16) is our least interested in sports and only plays softball in the spring. My dsd#2 (14) is extremely active with competitve cheer, tumbling, co-ed stunting, softball (spring summer and fall)and track. She's tied with my dd#3 (5) who does t-ball, soccer (spring and fall), gymnastics, competitive cheer and dance. My dh has my DS (2) rotating nightly between t-ball practice and Jui jitsu (he's too young to actually play yet but he'll be in on a wrestling team, in jui jitsu, t-ball, soccer, and probably kickboxing at 4) and the babies (mine and my fd) are just along for the ride until they turn 3 and they jump aboard the treadmill of our family as well. This is not counting dh's schedule or mine. I'm exausted just typing it out. I just don't know how to say thats too much when everyone seems to be having a great time and pushing forward with goals and desires in mind.
post #9 of 17
My DD could definately be considered athletically gifted. Im not into labels or competition, so I guess I m not much fun to have a conversation about it

Iam inpressed with her natural ability to adapt to any sport or movement. The girls' got talent, but I am nurturing it with fun stuff still. She is 8. At some point she will go competative when she is older, and mentally and spiritually ready for the commitment.
(I also need to be ready for the commitment)
post #10 of 17
I think my 4 yr. old is athletically gifted but it's too early to tell, really. He taught himself to ride a bike without training wheels at 2, could throw a spiral at 3, and plays soccer regularly with his 7 yr. old brother and our 8, 12, and 13 yr. old neighbors. He knows all the rules to soccer, basketball, and football. People have commented on how muscular he is since toddlerhood.

I would worry about the weight issues, though. I had to give up gymnastics as a kid because I got too tall and busty. That's just the way of sports that require you to be tiny.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB View Post
I would worry about the weight issues, though. I had to give up gymnastics as a kid because I got too tall and busty. That's just the way of sports that require you to be tiny.
Def. something to look out for but depends on the program. I know a lot of busty and/or tall coaches, so I'm not convinced it matters much. My daughter is going to be about 5'9" or so as an adult, and had a same height coach last year who was just beautiful in the coach exhibition, and said she hadn't done any of that in 4 years, just rock climbing and hiking. The vast majority of girls quit by puberty anyway.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB View Post
I think my 4 yr. old is athletically gifted but it's too early to tell, really.
This is key, and it's something I've seen discussed in more even-keeled sports memoirs - that sometimes what looks like tremendous ability can change quickly as other children catch up physically.

I don't know how you recognize athletically gifted at a really young age, or how much that differs from advanced motor skills. But...

a friend from high school is in the NFL. I saw first-hand his mother's approach, and I think overall she was able to balance things. Now, he had 3 siblings, all of whom excelled both in school & at sports. His mom was very good at keeping him grounded, though, and I heard her more than once say that he couldn't "get away with things" because of his abilities.

I don't think one child should have to sacrifice for the other, but I know that's not always realistic in that a child with, say, special needs, will require more time & energy. That's just the way it works sometimes. What I would be aware of in terms of siblings is the same for what I think parents of one academically gifted child in a family is that it's important to recognize that all children have interests and gifts and not to "dote" on one child to the exclusion of the others.
post #13 of 17
so interesting to read all this.

my son is extremely physical, always has had truly unusually good small and gross motor skills, as well as graceful and powerful body. I am sure he'll be into sports. But what is funny is neither me nor my husband are into it AT ALL. I worry actually that he's NOT getting to do something he cares about.

I am waiting until he is 6 to do any teams, but he has BEGGED me into letting him do a circus class once a week and the teachers there took one look at him and were, to him, very low-key, but the owner of the school pulled me aside and said, "you have to be careful with your son, coaches are going to want to take him and train him too hard because he has so much obvious physical talent, and at this age it should just be very minimal and all for fun". The change in his body from once-a-week aerial arts class is kind of scary- he's only 5 and had developed a lot of musculature as a result. Its kind of amazing and also kind of baffling for me.

Oh, and he wants to try out for the School of American Ballet next spring (You have to be 6 to audition).

Anyway, DS wasn't to start little league next spring when he is 6. We're going to let him start and see where it goes.
post #14 of 17
Op, I don't have an athletically gifted child, but I would cautiously say that that sounds like a LOT of activities, and that you sound tired. My DD would enjoy more activities, to some extent, and she has some talents that could be improved upon with lessons/activites, but we are very careful about how many activities we put her in (we limit it to two, or three at the outside, and none are highly time intensive). I feel that heavily scheduling kids, even in things they love, can take away from some of the important work of childhood.
post #15 of 17
Omg I have a gifted athletic child. YouTube cooper kye 21 months old swinging a adult size golf club. That is just the beginning. Lol
post #16 of 17
Omg thi
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB View Post

I think my 4 yr. old is athletically gifted but it's too early to tell, really. He taught himself to ride a bike without training wheels at 2, could throw a spiral at 3, and plays soccer regularly with his 7 yr. old brother and our 8, 12, and 13 yr. old neighbors. He knows all the rules to soccer, basketball, and football. People have commented on how muscular he is since toddlerhood.


I would worry about the weight issues, though. I had to give up gymnastics as a kid because I got too tall and busty. That's just the way of sports that require you to be tiny.
s


Omg this is my son. What is your son doing now?
post #17 of 17
I a
Quote:
Originally Posted by ellemenope View Post

I was athletically gifted.


Personally I think much of it stemmed from a competietive personality, superior v/s intelligence, and loads of perseverence.


I had a love for all sports. But, for some reason, soccer became my sport. I was picked up by a select team in second grade. We practiced way to much and traveled too far. I did not like it. I burned out a bit.


In highschool I played a sport for every season as well as highly competetive club sports at the same time. It was not unusual for me to get done with soccer practice at the HS and then go straight to a club softball game. I thrived in this situation. (don't think your kids can't) I took the hardest cours load on top of sports and was top of my class. I was the top scholar athlete in the metro area.


But, by junior year I started to feel pressure from college scouts. I did not like it. I told all my coaches that I wanted to focus on academics. Everyone believed this because I did have high marks and test scores. I ended up with a academic scholarship so no one made too big a fuss.


This was the biggest regret of my life.

Everyone made such a big deal about what team I was going to play for and what amount of scholorship I would get. But, no one reminded me that I actually loved playing the sport and should continue playing for the sake of fun.



I missed out on 4 more years of doing something I loved. This is just one cautionary tale.

I appreciate you sharing. My son is exactly what they are describing above. I promise he is Hercules.,lol YouTube : cooper kye swinging a adult golf club at 21 months old. He just turned three and he can do anything. Wow thanks again
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