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Parents: What To Do If Your Child Wants to Quit Sports

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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.

Gould suggests that if a child wants to quit sports, the parents should not panic. First, parents should converse with their kids to identify the reasons for wanting to quit. A bad day or disappointing performance can easily pass, with a new day bringing returned enthusiasm. However, being by teammates or coaches may call for a different response from the parents.

Barring physical or emotional danger, parents should encourage their children to persist, as persistence and overcoming adversity are among the greatest life lessons available through sports. Parents also might weave life lessons about commitment into the conversation, explaining that if the child is still not enjoying the sport at season's end, then they need not necessarily return for the next season.