How Can you Support your Young Professional Athlete
Professional sport is full of obstacles and challenges for the child. That is why the parents’ support is crucial for a young professional athlete.
In a competitive environment such as professional sport, full of tension, stress and great expectations, children can often feel afraid. In that case, they usually express the emotion of fear through rage, and sometimes sadness in the event of defeat, which is an essential part of the sport, and as important for progressing as victory is.
In order for parents to support their child in an adequate way, they need to understand and accept that type of behavior as a normal reaction to ‘extreme circumstances’ and stress, which are an integral part of practicing sport.
That is why today, we will cover the topic of children’s emotional intelligence in sport, to support parents on this journey, so they could do the same for their children.
When you show understanding for your child and accept that the match or game they play is not an easy task at all, mentally or physically, you will create the foundation for overcoming this problem, and more importantly, you will strengthen their self-confidence and willpower.
If the child embraces competition as something that brings many challenges, then they become more capable of overcoming them, through different techniques of self-regulation and concentration.
What is also important to keep in mind is that just as not every child is destined to be a professional musician or a scientist, so not every child has the ability to become a young professional athlete. That is why it is especially important that every parent approaches realistically and responsibly in the assessment of potential, through various measurements, tests as well as the opinion of experts.
Recognition of a child’s desire to play a certain sport also plays an important role. If after a while your child fails to cope with the mental or physical demands that professional sports require, we encourage you to reconsider whether you chose the right path for your child, and what criteria and values you followed when choosing a particular sport.
The earlier you recognize your motivations, the earlier it will be easier to guide your child to the right path and a profession in which they can be successful, satisfied and confident.
If your child still has a great desire and sports potential, and you want them to start on the path of professional sports, keep in mind that you have a beautiful, but extremely long and arduous journey, full of sacrifices, that awaits you, your child, and often the whole family.
The Foundation has already started dealing with this issue, through a specifically created support program for parents of a young professional athlete named “Path of a Champion”. The program successfully started with a workshop at Novak Tennis Center and it is about to extend further. Keep following us on social media if you want to gain more knowledge and hear about the experiences of some of the greatest athletes and experts in the field.
About the author: Ana Jovanovic was a member of the Fed Cup Tennis Team of Serbia from the age of 16-26. During her tennis career, she was ranked 207th in the WTA rankings with 12 professional international titles. Thanks to her many years of experience, she has had the opportunity to work as a sports director and head coach of the Novak Tennis Academy and as the Selector of the junior national team of Serbia for girls up to age 14. As part of the Novak Djokovic Foundation team, she is focused on developing projects on the topic of parenting in sports.