For a young athlete to stick with a sport or activity, like Jiu-Jitsu, they need motivation. If the eagerness to get better or do their best is there, kids will likely continue with martial arts for a long time. But how do you help a young athlete stay motivated?
Here are five ways to motivate a young athlete:
1. Ask your child what they like about the sport or activity.
The first step in understanding what motivates a child to stick with an activity is to find out what they like about it. Does your child like martial arts because she can hang out with her friends? Maybe the best part of challenging herself to get better? Chat with your child about what they like; their answers might surprise you.
2. Support your child in what motivates them.
Once you have a good understanding of what your child likes about Jiu-Jitsu, you’ll also have a pretty good idea of what motivates them. Do your best to honor this and avoid pushing your own motivations onto your child. If you want your child to compete, but they’re not showing much interest, let them proceed on their timeline (not yours).
3. Expect your child’s motivation to change over time.
How often do you wake up excited to go to the gym and work out? Some days, you might be more excited and can’t wait to get there. Other days (or perhaps weeks), you might feel less motivated and prefer to skip your workouts altogether. Kids experience the same ebb and flow of their motivation. Some days they might be really excited to train and other days they aren’t. If your child enjoys martial arts and has been excited about it in the past, a day or two of feeling unmotivated might just be a sign they need a short break. Most likely, they’ll bounce back.
4. Give your child some time to figure things out.
If your child is new to Jiu-Jitsu, give them some time to figure out what they like about participating. Again, try not to force anything on them and make sure that your child’s motivation is their own. Over time, kids learn what they like about a sport and what makes them excited to keep coming back.
5. Use encouragement and positivity to motivate young athletes.
Fear, anger, punishment, and yelling will not inspire your young athlete to achieve success. If your child is struggling with motivation, make sure you help them from a place of positivity. Try to understand where they’re coming from and look for opportunities to show support instead of frustration.
Are you interested in learning more about the martial arts programs we’re currently offering at Rolles Gracie Academy in Old Bridge? Contact us today!