PCA Development Zone®

Resource Center

Parent Tips For Encouraging An Overweight Child To Play Sports

Share This Resource

Dan Gould, a PCA National Advisory Board Member and Director of Michigan State’s Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, is renowned for his work in sport psychology and mental training for athletic competition. He conducts research on the psychological foundations of coaching and has consulted for the U.S. Olympic Committee, the U.S. Tennis Association, and athletes of all ages and skill levels.

In this video, Gould explains that kids who are overweight can be hesitant to join a sport. However, for more than just health reasons, parents should not be afraid to nudge them in the right direction and encourage them to try.

Parents can help matters by steering an overweight child toward sports that are more forgiving (i.e., not sprinting), where self-consciousness may be less an obstacle and success and enjoyment are less dependent on body type. Parents should identify coaches who work well with less talented or overweight athletes and have an open conversation with coaches about their kids' needs and challenges. That talk with coaches may help them stay more positive and encouraging to the overweight athlete.