05/04/2020 5:05 AM
Article By: J Hector Diaz
What did you dream of as a kid? Did you ever imagine yourself as the President? A firefighter? A professional soccer player? If you dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player, I am sure you were into soccer at that time. You need to have a passion for the sport to dream of making it into the big league. And that love drives you towards the goal. To keep on dreaming, we need to be free of obstacles that impair our vision. Our dreams frequently become shattered as we no longer find the sport fun. Parents think they know what's best, spend hours driving the player toward a "high-quality" training session and back during the week. Only to have the kids lose their love and passion for the sport. And what is a training session without a motivated player other than completely useless? Many of the best players started playing soccer in a chaotic environment, but the player didn’t shed love for sport. I am telling you this out of personal experience.
My sister was an excellent ice skater, but due to the lack of ice rinks, she did not have the proper space for practice. What did my mom do in this situation? She wanted the best for my sister, and would wake her up before school to take her to practice to La Jolla, and train with the full ice rink to herself and a couple more skaters. What came out of this? My sister got burnt out. She no longer dreamed. And now, she regrets quitting. She loved the sport but hated the tedious travel. At the moment, as a child, she decided to quit because there was no more love for ice skating. We need to support our child's passion for the sport and not be responsible and mature.
I have coached many players that do not love the sport. Many parents want to teach their kids team sports because they understand its benefits. But have they seen you involved in a team sport? As parents, we have to provide an example. Take your children out. Let them participate in activities. Take them to watch you do sport, even if they aren't watching necessarily, on many occasions they will be trying to imitate the game with other kids they meet at the park. Have you heard the saying, "actions speak louder than words"? As a young kid growing up, I wanted to be outside instead of staying home all day. Why? I saw how much fun my dad had playing soccer, basketball and softball with my uncles. Were they good at it? No! As a kid, they certainly seemed to be good to me at that time, and the difference from my family's games and the professionals was negligible to me as a child. As I got older, I started to understand what the difference was. At the time, I knew so many people that played the game at such a "high" level that I believed it was possible for me to get on an equal footing with them. Why not? They could do it, so could I. My first-grade teacher, Ms. Victor, explained that to me with a song, which I still recall today: "I am great! I am capable! I can do anything I set my mind to do."
I dreamed of being an adult, being able to drive, having an excellent car, and playing in front of thousands of fans. I dreamed of scoring the winning goal and coming back home victorious to a parade. Don't get me wrong; I had a Nintendo and enjoyed video games. But video games did not allow us to connect with our friends. To play and socialize with our friends, we had to go outside and play sports. Wallball, basketball, baseball, hockey, football, and soccer. Dreams are much more fun when our friends are involved in them. I suggest you allow video games but turn off the internet. If they want to be with their friends, let them be involved in sports. Sports nowadays compete with video games. Video games fulfill the time needed to socialize. Kids go online with a headset and talk to their friends for hours. The game itself doesn't make it as fun, as the interaction with their friends does. The socializing component is what sports had as an advantage over those video games, but now the latter has this too. Sports allow us to be engaged in routine physical activity that provides for better physical health, as well as for improved mental health.
Follow the sport on television. The television could be a huge source of inspiration to a kid that you could not even imagine. Give it a thought! You wanted to be like Superman, Wonder Woman or other superheroes. You soon realize that you don't have powers, but your dreams turn towards becoming a professional athlete. As a parent, watch the sport on television. Do not force your kid to watch it, but have it available for him/her. It's essential to understand the game and some of us learn by watching it.
Yes, as the kids become older, they will start realizing their abilities and start setting priorities in life. Their dreams might change, and young adults will begin to make mature decisions. But that is at an older age – allow them to dream when they are young. Be who they want to be - fulfill their potential. Because for those professional players, it all started with a dream. It then gradually evolved into a mature decision. And the dream lingers on till this day.