When a sport stops being a hobby

Recreation spaces allow children to develop in other areas that are not academic and that help them have a moment of recreation and entertainment. Design The Hour/Alejandro Ramírez

Today’s children fulfill a variety of activities during the week, from school, their homework, playtime or leisure, to extracurricular classes, activities that are lived at a very fast and different pace of life. If we add to this the time lost in traffic and stress, the day-to-day life of a common family can become very exhausting.

That is why recreational spaces allow children to develop in other areas that are not academic and that help them have a moment of recreation and entertainment, such as practicing a sport, but what happens when this is no longer seen as a hobby by parents’ wish?

An example of this is what the retired tennis player, Andre Agassi, recounts in his autobiography entitled ‘Open’, when as a child he had a toy racket in his hands and from that moment he did not stop hitting balls.

His father, obsessed with making him a sports star, pushed him to reach the level of shooting 2,500 balls a day, at just seven years old.

Children who practice soccer, basketball, baseball, softball or whatever the sport is for the mere fact of spending free time, laughing and sharing with friends. Design The Hour/Alejandro Ramírez

“My father yells everything two, three, up to 10 times. Stronger, stronger. Hit before. Damn, Andre, hit earlier, squeeze the ball, squeeze the ball. Now he’s harassing me, he’s yelling. It’s not enough to hit everything the dragon shoots at me: my father wants me to hit harder and faster than the dragon. He wants me to defeat the dragon”, reads the autobiography.

Agassi became number one in the world, he is the only player in history to have won the seven most prestigious titles in men’s singles tennis and has an incredible track record. And yet, he also mentions in the letter “I hate tennis, I detest it with a dark and secret passion, and yet I continue to play because I have no alternative.”

Agassi, is the clearest example of how pressure from parents can turn something that children enjoy doing to entertain themselves for a while, into something that they end up hating, but afraid to say so, and so there are many more cases around the world that unfortunately we will never fully know; children who practice soccer, basketball, baseball, softball or any other sport for the mere fact of spending free time, laughing and sharing with friends.

Parental pressure can turn something kids enjoy doing for entertainment into something they end up hating but afraid to say. Design The Hour/Alejandro Ramírez

It is valid that parents want their children to excel and succeed, not only in a game or competition, but in life.

But it is important to stop and think before exerting extra pressure: could it be that the motivation and accompaniment that I give them is the right one? What needs did he try to fill? Does it look good for me to see myself as the ideal father, or do I genuinely want my son to succeed and feel successful for himself? And if this is the reason, am I doing it the right way?

Since it could be a possibility that the success for the son is to give his best effort, to improve, and to continue doing it as a hobby, because that is for him or her something that he or she does for pleasure during his or her free time.

Sport in childhood favors the growth and emotional health of children, in addition to having a time of distraction. Photo Design/Roberto Altán/La Hora

Parenthood does not bring instruction manuals, it is given just as life flows. Some moments will be wonderful and others will be mistakes from which you will learn, reflect, and grow. All this will lead to understanding the importance of stopping, reflecting and seeing what is really wanted when the son or daughter practices a sport: that they have a moment of fun, where they can exercise for their benefit and that they experience in their own way what which is to put all your effort to achieve something that will not always turn out the way you want, or if on the contrary you want it to be the best, the one that wins, the one that stands out, although it is not necessarily your goal but that of one of your parents .

It is valuable to reflect and think about the type of mother or father you want to be: the one who needs your child to excel in order to feel good and avoid what third parties will say, or to fulfill a personal desire and goal through them or to be the father, mother, that applauds mistakes and turns them into an opportunity for mutual learning.

Practicing a sport is healthy and fun, but what happens when it is no longer seen as a hobby due to the parents’ wishes? Photo Design/Roberto Altán/La Hora

us lh Apart from reflecting on the above, we propose to stop and take the time to ask the son or daughter what they most like and enjoy the sport they do and what is most difficult. This will open the doors to have a conversation and collect information that helps to see situations with different eyes, and thus live the moments and situations in the best way, taking care of the needs not only personal but also of the child involved.

We always learn from everyone’s experiences, so we look forward to your comments and contributions to share them with the community and continue in constant learning and growth.

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