The guide to making your daughter a better athlete

The guide to making your daughter a better athlete

“Kickin it with Khara” Vassell July 13, 2016

Parents, I’m sure you think you know what’s best for your daughters when it comes to their athletic careers. I’m not going to say that you really don’t know what is best for your child, however I will say that you don’t know everything. I am simply giving you a different perspective of what you should be doing with your daughters in regards to athletics. Here are a few secrets that are guaranteed to making her a better athlete.

The first secret is that the child must have a passion burning inside of them. What’s the point of doing something if you don’t have any desire to do it? With no passion comes no effort and with no effort comes a bad result. It is a wonderful idea to introduce your daughters to an array of sports, not just one, while they are young and open-minded. If you see that your daughters are having fun at their practices then keep them involved in the sport. If just the thought of the sport that they are participating in brings a frown to their face then that sport needs to be dropped immediately.

Every parent wants to see their child prosper in every way possible but some take the support too far. Avoid being the crazy parent who forces things onto their daughters.

If your daughters have the heart to compete in their sport(s), the next step is going out and training with them. I highly encourage parents to do private sessions with their daughters because that will solidify their support system. Training with your children will also provide a sense of comfort and security which will allow your child to get better at the skill she is practicing without worrying about the embarrassment of making a mistake. Be mindful of the things you teach your daughters and what she learns at practice. Your daughter may get confused during a game/match if she is learning two different things, so respect the coach and his/her methods by working on skills that they learn at practice.

Competitive sports start to get more serious as your children get older, especially during the transition from middle school to high school. You must allow your daughter to tell you whether or not she wants to take her athletic career seriously. If so, here’s where the really intense sessions start. Being a normal kid isn’t an option anymore as she is making sacrifices and missing out on things she wouldn’t if she wasn’t training or going out of town to compete in tournaments. Also, cross training is the key. Playing more than one sport will reduce the chances of your daughter getting overuse injuries. These injuries are caused by repetitive movements in the areas of the body used excessively in the sport. Though cross-training is very draining and takes much out of the body. Rest is necessary for any athlete in any sport. The body needs time to recover and register the hard work that is being done. Without rest your child will be tired and the exhaustion may start to negatively affect her performance in school.

According to <scholarshipstats.com>, only 7.9 percent of female high school athletes get scholarships to play in college. This 7.9 percent includes the number of athletes within the three different NCAA divisions. Although the goal is to possibly receive an athletic scholarship it is important for you and your daughter to understand that at the end of the day sports are a privilege, but schooling comes first. If your daughter gets injured to the point where she can longer rely on her athletic abilities to bring her through college, her academics need to be good enough to fall back on. Priorities are important and school should always be number one.

Looking back at my athletic career, I wouldn’t have participated in soccer if I didn’t feel my heart race every time I had the ball at my feet. I’ve had my share of tendonitis and other overuse injuries but pulled through with some rest. I’ve missed out on major school events and doing girly things on the weekends with my friends due to the sacrifices I made while being an athlete. Yet all of those private training sessions with my dad, the cross training I had while playing basketball with the boys and every single sprint I had to do made it so worth it when I received my scholarship. Being a good athlete taught me the importance of discipline, hard-work, and priorities. These lessons helped me keep my GPA high enough to where it demanded my acceptance into the university I now attend. This guide works and I am living, breathing proof. So parents, are you up for making your daughter a better athlete?

Khara Vassell graduated from Gulliver Preparatory High School. At Gulliver she received All-State Honors three out of four years on the Varsity Soccer team. She was also an active member in the G.O.A.L.S. club where she coached kids with autism and taught them how to play soccer. Vassell is the founder of her own non-profit organization called “Island Kids Soccer Charity” where she collects soccer gear for orphans in the Caribbean, ships the gear off to the orphanages and later heads to the orphanages to host soccer clinics to teach these orphans how to play and to give the gear out. She is now a sophomore at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and is a member of the varsity soccer team. She can be reached by email kagv08@gmail.com.


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