India does not have a sporting culture to be proud of. Kids are often discouraged from taking up sports seriously. In fact, with mounting academic pressures and a race to secure a bright future, most kids are refrained from playing in their neighborhood parks too.
However, it is a misconception that sports interfere with academics. In fact, they can actually help aid the overall growth and rounding of a kid. Most doctors around the world recommend an active lifestyle for kids for a stronger immunity, stronger bones and to prevent diseases such as juvenile diabetes.
There are loads of benefits attached to playing competitive sports, which include:
There are obvious physical benefits to playing sports. With increasingly sedentary lifestyle, a range of diseases are now being seen in children, which were earlier restricted to adults only. When you play competitive sports, you improve your stamina and your overall fitness levels. Competitive sports played at a young age also help cut down the risk of diseases such as arthritis, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes etc at a later stage in life.
Sports are known to have social benefits as well. Most sports involve team play. When you play competitively, you have to coordinate with other team members for your team to do well. Even in individual sports such as tennis, you have to abide by the social norms of the sport, such as respecting the opponent, respecting umpires etc. All this helps improve the social skills of a child. Significant improvement has been seen in even introvert kids when they were encouraged to play competitive sports.
Dealing with stress and failure
Academic pressure is huge in today’s education system. Everyone is striving for the top spot, and the expectations of parents just add to the pressure. In sports, you have to deal with stressful situations many times. However, by playing competitive sports, you learn to deal with those stressful situations better. Often, you have your team members to fall back on when you are feeling stressed or anxious. In individual sports too, you have your coaches and mentors to share any stress or anxiety you are feeling.
This helps a kid develop a better mechanism for dealing with stress. The same goes for failures as well. Failures are a part of a sportsperson’s life. You win some and you lose some. However, the key is to put the past behind you and focus on the current game.
As a kid continues playing competitive sports, he develops sportsmanship and knows how to come back after a loss. This has a direct impact on his academics as well. With better stress handling and handling of failures, a kid is better adept at giving his best shot when he appears for an exam.
Better self awareness
Often, to succeed in sports, you have to know your strengths and weaknesses. Maximizing your strengths and minimizing your weaknesses is what gets you to the top. Everybody is not the same. However, today, we are living in a me-too culture, where every kid wants to be like that cool kid in the class. That’s called peer pressure and that can take a toll on a child’s mental health.
However, active sports helps a kid identify the areas he is good at and the areas he is not so good at. And when success comes his way, he becomes more assured of his strengths and talents. Thus, he becomes better at handling peer pressure. Kids who show active participation in sports are also seen to be less vulnerable to teen fads such as drugs and alcohol.
Creative problem solving skills
In sports, you often encounter never before seen situations which involve thinking on your feet. When you constantly come with solutions on the spot, you understandably increase your creative problem solving skills. Creative problem solving skills come in handy in every sphere of life, whether personal or professional.
With all that said, it is important that you encourage your kid to play a game that he likes. Don’t push him to play something just because a neighborhood kid is doing so well in it. Expose your kid to different sports and let him choose his passion. It is critical to derive the benefits of sports.
Please watch the video below from Dr. Shree Advani on Sport and Personality Development.
Dads and moms keep pushing their children to fulfill their own dreams rather than their child's dream. We feel you must guide and direct; only in this way you are able to help your child realize his or her own potential. And that really is what being a champion is : Realizing your potential.
Example: Mary Marinovich who from the time his son Todd was an infant in a crib was programming him to be a football quarterback. The result was that Todd grew up to a star quarterback in high school and at USC and was even in the NFL. But then the moonshot exploded. Todd quit after two NFL seasons because it was not his dream. It was not his passion. He was simply being forced to follow his fathers dream. Ultimately the result was a nightmare that included drugs and jail.
Such stories of burned out young athletes are far too common. The mistake so many parents make is they push their children to fulfill parents own dreams. They demand Go practice, Go workout, go do it.
If you want your son to be a tennis player, take him to a big game, that’s how you hook him with fun.
Too many schools have cut their music programs, physical education classes etc. and by doing so, have taken away the very things that make kids go to school. They take away some of their dreams. You then must give your child something to be excited about, to aspire to.
Your job as a parent is to help your child find his/her passion. Your mission is also to make certain that his/her passion is a positive one. Otherwise, TV, video games or the street will all end up shaping and guiding your youngster’s destiny for you.
Make it fun.
Everyone wants to have fun.
We’re a big believer that kids have fun doing “ing” things. Here’s what we mean by “ing” things. Smiling, Laughing, playing, dancing, running, jumping, diving etc.
If kids are having fun, they spend lots of hours doing it. Time flies by when they are doing it.
The Pivotal reason why kids drop out of sports? It was not Fun. People learn best, learn faster and retain more when they have fun.
If you make it fun to hit a tennis ball, may be by putting up a target of cans to knock down or offering cookies as a prize of hitting 5 shots over the net in a row, the child will learn faster.
Taking kids to watch a great tennis game should be fun; in the car, after the match and during the match. The total experience should be fun.
Even the pro superstars “wanna have fun”. After his first game back in the NBA after coming out of retirement, Lakers super star magic Johnson said, it was great and it was so much fun.
Chicago cubs superstar Ryne Sandberg who, despite still being a great player, walked away from baseball a few years ago with millions of dollars remaining on his contract. Asked why he was retiring and he replied, I just wasn’t having fun playing baseball anymore.
Kids should look forward to practice every day because it is the best part of their day having Fun.
Pissarro taught his children to paint, and they taught their children, in all, thirteen descendants became artists. He taught his children how to enjoy painting. It did not matter it was good or bad, the point was to learn and enjoy.
Lots of Coaches have tremendous amount of technical knowledge, but they can’t impart it in a fun way.
You parents must find coaches and mentors who have the flexibility and imagination to take a unique approach and still maintain discipline.
Without Fun, the “Crazy Passion” will not develop. And without “Crazy Passion”, there can be no champion.
Finding the Right coach
Too many parents just take their child to a coach or teacher who is conveniently located. They haven’t checked him out.
If you are buying a car or a house you would surely spend some time checking around. Do the same when searching for someone to help your child along their road to their dreams. You must phone around and ask others to help you find the coach or instructor who makes it fun and can motivate and inspire.
Which coach and program has the most kids in it? Where’s the action? Who has the most champions? Who is likeable? Who has the charisma?.
· Go meet this coach.
· See if he seems to have fun.
· Ask the coach what he does to make a child have fun while learning.
· Take couple of lessons and see if your child does indeed have fun.
· Finally does the coach know the path to the top and all the stops along the way?.
The litmus test comes after the first lesson or clinic, ask your child if she wants to go back again.
Don’t focus too much at first on finding a coach who is technically excellent, but he must more importantly have a positive personality and teaching method that connects with kids in a fun way.
If your child progresses beyond the technical skills of a certain coach, don’t worry, a good coach will help you find a new coach to continue his journey with your child. And be sure to thank and appreciate that first coach because no matter what happens down the road, the most important coach of all is the one who made things fun and helped start and stoke the fire of your child’s passion.
No TV….No Video Games !!!!
I realize now how precious each day is – Basketball coach Jim Valvano, as he was dying of cancer.
In a recent Pediatrics magazine, which indicates that frequent TV watching by infants and toddlers may shorten their attention span by age seven. The stimulation of watching TV, the study says, can actually “rewire” the brain of young children because of the quickly moving images on the screen. This in turn can affect the ability of these children to concentrate during their very important early school years as they are often more impulsive and restless than other children.
And a recent survey says American youth under age 18 watch an average of 6.2 hours of television a day, that’s more than 40 hours a week. Just the commercial time alone adds up to 10 hours in a week.
I guarantee you that in the time spent just watching commercials, a kid could learn to become a terrific cricketer or tennis player. Pick any passion and the child could develop excellence in it.
If there was something really good on, like a world cup final or Wimbledon final etc, it is worth watching.
The cold truth is that video and computer games will rob your child of a chance to reach his or her true potential.
Indeed, numerous studies have shown that playing video games is addictive.
Symptoms of computer or video game addiction in children include:
· Most of non-school hours are spent playing video games.
· Falling asleep in school.
· Not keeping up with assignments
· Worsening grades
· Lying about computer or video game use.
· Dropping out of other social groups, clubs and sports.
Last but not the least, expose your children to all the sports and give them an opportunity to pick their interest. We’re here to help you along your journey and as we say…. You dream…. we drive….
Note : We are one among you who are inspired by one of those great authors Wayne Bryan who brings all the encouragement to parents with his great thoughts on “How to raise a child to be a champion”. We indeed refer to his book on all the key points and we feel this book is a must have for every parent who wants to see a champion in their child.
Link to get this book:
A must watch interview for parents who are working on raising a champion.
For move videos on Parents role, visit us at http://dev.dreamaboutsports.com/das/Videos.aspx
Gone are the days people walked as a means of transport. Now we are in a generation where we walk to and from the cars and exercise is measured by counting steps using fitness bands.Children do the same, walking from their bedrooms to the couch for television viewing or to play video games.
Problems parents are facing while raising their kids
Minimal outdoor activity:
Dealing with stress and failure
Stay away from bad habits
How playing sports helped “CEO” of Microsoft
Not everyone who play sports make it big and represent country, playing sports helps in healthy lifestyle.
Kiran bedi on Sports.
Aamir Khan on Importance of Sports.
Join the fight !!!
No to Junk food and Video games. Encourage play and healthy eating habits.
Enjoy the game – Michael Jordan.
Yoga is an Indian form of fitness and exercise practiced for centuries. However, over the last few years, it has become a phenomenon in the Western world with some of the biggest celebrities taking to it in a big way. The fad has resulted in different kinds of yoga, from power yoga to heat yoga.
Beyond that fad though, lies some carefully researched science that can benefit you in a big way. In fact, as an athlete, you can benefit a lot from this traditional form of fitness routine.
Physiological health is important in an athlete’s life. Regular yoga has been actually seen to improve physiological health of individuals. With regular yoga sessions, you get the following physiological advantages:
Psychological benefits of yoga
Apart from these benefits, yoga is known to be a safer alternative than traditional weight training routines. Most yoga exercises focus on natural body postures and controlled breathing, which significantly cuts down on the risk of injuries while exercising.
Injury is a part and parcel of a sportsperson’s life. There is hardly an athlete there who hasn’t suffered a major setback in his/her career due to injury. However, the hallmark of a great athlete is his ability to come back from such setbacks in life. It is easier said than done though. According to University of Utah, a sportsperson goes through 5 stages of grief after an injury:
Denial - Most athletes do not consider a niggle to be a serious affair. They consider themselves fit even when their bodies are telling them they are not.
Anger and frustration - After having realized that they are in fact injured, athletes go through a stage of anger and frustration. They can be seen blaming themselves for the injury.
Bargain - During this stage, they can be seen pleading with everyone to let them get back on the playing field. They are ready to agree to any terms set out to them, which enables them to play.
Depression - After not playing for a certain length of time, athletes show symptoms of withdrawal and anxiety. They go into a self-imposed shell and slowly start losing any hope of playing again.
Acceptance - This is the stage when injured athletes accept the fact that rehabilitation is the only way forward.
The transition from the stage of depression to acceptance is the most difficult. It takes a lot of strength and moral support is order to come to that stage.
Experts suggest the following tips in order to deal with the period of injuries and rehabilitation:
1. Goal setting - Athletes often set tangible goals before a match in order to better their performance. It has been seen that goal setting plays a vital role in rehabilitation as well. Set yourself achievable goals during the rehabilitation period. It could be running that 500 meters extra after a week, lifting that 2 pounds more during your gym training session etc. Achieving such goals helps you stay motivated during the recovery period.
2. Stay around positive people - It is important that you stay motivated during the rehab period. Avoid surrounding yourself with people who have a negative frame of mind. They will bog you down. Surround yourself with people who keep you motivated and relaxed. They could be your friends, family or your coach.
3. Do not dwell too much on the injury - When you focus too much on something, you become stressed and anxious. Avoid thinking too much about the injury. Just go about your usual routine and keep yourself occupied with something most of the times. It could be reading some good books, some activity you have been planning to do for a really long time etc.
4. Listen to your coach and fitness trainer - This is crucial to effective and fast recovery. Listen to what your fitness trainer has to say. Follow your rehab routine diligently.
You have played a grueling tennis match, and understandably, you are exhausted. However, you have an important match coming up tomorrow and you just cannot afford to relax. That’s just a part of sportsperson’s life. In order to be at the top of the game, recovery is an important part of training. Without sufficient recovery, you are more prone to injuries, poor judgment levels during a game, and poor stamina.
While time plays a role in helping you recover from a match that alone is not sufficient especially if you are playing matches on consecutive days. It has been seen that at the junior level, there are more instances of burnout and lack of motivation because of lack of focus on the recovery process.
Here are some tips which can help you in the recovery process and hence, help you stay on top of your game through an entire tournament.
Hydrating your body
During a match or a training session, you lose a lot of water and electrolytes from your body in the form of sweat. Persistent lack of water and electrolytes -in the body can lead to a condition known as Hyponatremia, which can lead to serious health issues.
It is important to stay hydrated before, during and after a match. The purpose of staying hydrated is to:
· Replace the lost fluids and electrolytes in the body
· Prevent cramps
· Increase the rate of absorption of glucose in the muscles
The general advice for hydration after a strenuous training session or match is to have about a bottle of water for every pound of bodyweight lost. The color of your urine is a good indicator whether you need more fluids. If it is too dark, take a lot of fluids. Most times, drinking recovery fluids with carbohydrates and protein helps in recovering faster.
Intake of Carbohydrates
After intense exercise or a tough match, your muscles need to be replenished with glycogen to avoid excessive degeneration. Carbohydrates should be taken within 30-60 minutes of a match or an intense exercise session. While you may be full with fluids in your body, eating carbs after a match is important. Most international players force carbs down their throat after a match.
Wheat products, corn products, breads of all kinds are some sources of carbohydrates. A good common source of carbohydrates which most players depend on is banana.
Handling Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
When you exercise, lactic acid is built in the body. It is lactic acid and Hydrogen ions which are responsible for soreness or stiffness after an exercise session or a match. Muscle tissues break down after a match. It is important to rebuild muscles quickly in order to avoid fatigue and breakdown.
Some research suggests that going for light exercise after a match or training session helps prevent DOMS. Go for light swimming or cycling. Expert trainers around the world swear by the importance of cooling down after a match. It also helps increase blood flow to the muscles while assisting recovery of the nervous system.
Of course, nutrition plays a key role in recovery after a match. The goals of nutritional recovery are:
· To create new proteins for muscles
· To get the immunity levels up again
Amino acids play a key role in stimulation of proteins, and hence, aid the rebuilding and repair of muscles after a match. Some important foods rich in amino acids are nuts and fish.
As a general rule for nutritional recovery, you should:
· Have above 60 grams of carbohydrates for every hour that you play
· Have about 5-20 grams of protein right after you finish a training session or match
Sport isn’t just about the physical recovery. It is also about mental recovery. In fact, as you keep going higher up in the success ladder, the mental aspect of the game keeps increasing.
Mental recovery is also important after a big match. You want to be in the right frame of mind for the next day to play to the best of your abilities.
Mental recovery can be tough after a bad day in a sport. A lot of frustration and anger can build up inside you after a loss. It is important to get rid of these emotions in order to play to your potential.
Therefore, always have someone in your sporting career you can talk to after a match to de-stress. It could be a friend, a family member or even your coach. It will help you switch off and get ready for the big match the next day.
It is also important for you to check your emotions after a big win, as Bjorn Borg says, “Once a match is over, it’s over. I don’t carry either the pain or the glory with me for very long”.
In sports, mental strength is as important as physical strength. In fact, some experts reckon that as you move up levels, mental strength becomes more important than physical strength. Sports psychologists are continuously coming up with new research and techniques in order to harness the power of brain to drive physical fitness. Sports psychology is a vast field with numerous different techniques employed to better the performance of athletes. However, a vital part of sport psychology is visualization.
What is visualization?
Also known as imagery and self hypnosis, visualization is what the term suggests- you visualize yourself before a game. You see yourself in the playing field, running across the soccer field, taking a corner kick, getting ready before a golf swing, hitting the green and all that.
How does visualization help?
Several areas of mental strength such as focus and concentration have a direct impact on physical performance of an athlete. Visualization helps you harness that mental strength. Our brain draws a neural pattern for repetitive actions for a quick nervous system response. In order to understand that in simple terms, consider a batsman hitting a ball coming at a speed of 90mph through the gap for a boundary.
For an inexperienced player, handling a ball coming at such a high speed would be a tough task to handle. However, an experienced player has gone through those motions several times. Thus, his brain has a set neural pattern for that situation. When he sees the ball in a particular spot, his neural chart immediately kicks into action and he is able to dispatch the ball for a four.
Numerous research has shown that visualization actually helps in this neural mapping of the brain. When you constantly see yourself playing perfectly before a match, your brain draws a more efficient neural pattern for more effective response.
How to use visualization?
Visualization can primarily be used for three different tasks in sports:
Techniques for visualization
There are different techniques of visualization, and different things work for different people. Broadly speaking, there are two common techniques for visualization- associate and dissociative visualization. In associative visualization, you see yourself in the field with your own eyes. In dissociative visualization, you see yourself from the point of view of a third person.
Most athletes choose to visualize in a quiet corner a night before the game. However, there are certain sports which allow you to visualize during the game as well. For example, in tennis, you can always visualize before a serve is delivered. Similarly, in cricket, you can visualize while the bowler walks back to his bowling mark.
For videos on Sports Psychology, visit us at http://dev.dreamaboutsports.com/das/Videos.aspx
“It’s all in the mind”, that’s what you will find most successful people say. Numerous books have been written on the subject of mental visualization in order to achieve success in life. The concept of visualization can best be seen in the field of sports. Several top athletes across sports swear by their pre-game mental routine. Hank Aaron, a legendary baseball hitter, always used to swear by his mental preparation before a game and even before each pitch. Ever wondered why MS Dhoni has that elaborate routine every time he faces a delivery? It’s part of his mental preparation, which is crucial if you are to achieve success in sports.
Visualization is the most common form of mental preparation before a game and even during a game. To put simply, it is the practice of drawing a mental picture of you in the field and seeing yourself in all sorts of successful situations. It has been scientifically proven that mental preparation before a game has a direct impact on your physical performance.
When you visualize your techniques, the perfect way you would tackle different situations etc., your brain draws a neural map for each response. Thus, when you get down to real action, the neural map kicks into action and you are able to respond better and faster to different situations in the game.
Tips for mental preparation before a game
Different people have different routines for mental preparation before a game. However, here is the general routine followed by most top athletes around the world:
For videos on Sports Psychology, visit us at http://dev.dreamaboutsports.com/das/Videos.aspx
Very often, coaches tell you to concentrate on just one sport. It is a popular belief that you should do only one thing at a time and do it really well, instead of dividing your focus across a range of activities. However, of late, studies have proved that playing different sports may actually help you as a professional athlete.
Many great sportspersons do it. For example, Roger Federer is known to enjoy playing Badminton, Table tennis, Soccer and Cricket when he is not on the tennis court. Similarly, John Isner is well known to take a fascination to Basketball. Rafael Nadal loves playing golf during his free time. And it is not just tennis stars that are known to play different sports. Sportspersons in other field too are known to play multiple sports. For example, Sachin Tendulkar has a fascination for Tennis, Table tennis, and Badminton. Sourav Ganguly and MS Dhoni have a fascination for football.
There are a lot of advantages of playing different sports, as long as you don’t let that affect your core passion:
It improves your overall skills
Different sports focus on different skills. For example, table tennis is more about hand-eye coordination. Similarly, soccer is about stamina and aggression, while goalkeeping in soccer is about anticipation and flexibility, and, Golf is about accuracy and patience.
When you play different sports, it adds to your skills, which you can use in the core game that you play.
Reduces the risk of overuse injuries
Each sport puts more strain on certain muscles than others. For example, in tennis, it is usually the shoulders and the knees that come in for a heavy workout. Similarly, as a bowler in cricket, your shoulders, back and knees come under a lot of strain.
When you keep playing one sport day in and day out, it takes a toll on overused muscles. That results in weakening of muscles and ultimately causes repetitive injuries. However, by including variety in sports, you reduce the risk of injuries from overuse.
By playing different sports, you rest certain muscles and workout the other muscles in your body. This helps in achieving overall fitness. For example, cricket and football use entirely different muscles. Thus, for a cricketer, playing soccer gives a rest to his arms and back and instead focuses on his legs. It also helps him build stamina.
Better mental strength and creative problem solving ability
Different sports have their own set of different challenges. When you play different sports, you are exposed to different challenges, which take creative problem solving ability to overcome. Thus, you give the creative part of your brain a workout, which comes in handy when you are faced with your challenge in your core sport.
Since you are more adept at problem solving, it helps you build confidence and get mentally stronger as well. As you move up the career ladder as a professional sportsperson, it is more about your mental strength than physical strength.
Thus, by playing different sports, you give yourself a good chance of achieving a lot at the highest level of your sport.
To read about more benefits of playing different sports, please refer to the below link.
Often, when we are growing up, we pick our idols. For kids who are inclined in sports, their idols are almost always their favorite athletes from the sports they play. For instance, a kid who wants to become a cricketer when he grows up might have Sachin Tendulkar or Yuvraj Singh as his idol.
Similarly, someone who is into football might have Ronaldo or Messi as his idol. We all have our favorite athletes we look up to. They motivate us and inspire us to do better. However, idolizing sports icons is just another coin with two sides to it- there is the good and there is the bad.
Advantages of idolizing sports icons
As a kid with dreams of becoming the next sporting icon, it is important to stay motivated and focused. Idolizing sports icons gives most kids that motivation and focus they need to reach the highest level. When they see Tendulkar make new records, and reach new heights, they dream of doing that themselves someday.
That dream of achieving something big in the future motivates them to give that extra little effort in the training session and on the field.
However sometimes, idolizing sports icons can have its repercussions as well. Often, kids strive to play like their favorite athletes. However, when they fail to achieve their level of precision and control over the game even after repeated attempts, they can quickly become dejected.
Thus, what was to prove their source of motivation quickly changes to their source of dejection and failure.
And that’s where the role of a parent and a coach comes into play. It is important to teach the kids the difference between idolizing and obsession. It is one thing to look up to the talent of a top athlete, and it is quite another to try to imitate him.
In fact, it never does any sport any good when young kids try to imitate their favorite superstars. We are unique in our own way, with our own limitations and advantages. Even Sachin Tendulkar has a chink in his armor, and the same goes for Lionel Messi and other sporting greats. However, they were able to achieve success in their chosen field because they were able to play within their limitations while enhancing their advantages.
Thus, it is important to teach rising sports stars what to take and what to reject from their favorite sporting icon that helps them become a better sports person in future.