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Let’s be real
School and getting an education is still important. Parents, we hear you. There are certain concerns that come with supporting your child in the pursuit of a sports career. Let’s take a look at some of the key issues:
1. School just gets in the way.
As your child realises that their potential sporting career is getting attention, they need to be aware that school is still super cool. We all know that Fluffy did not eat their English speech. It’s great that your child puts in extra hours at rugby or soccer practise but it’s vital that they remember the importance of school. Putting in just as much effort with their schoolwork is critical to them leaving school with good results.
In the same way, participating in a university sporting team may not necessarily prioritise academics, however, it’s still useful to have the option of pursuing a different path. Growing up, Steven’s family were all very supportive of his dreams to become a professional soccer player but his mother kept reminding him to always put his schoolwork first.
2. They grow up so Quickly
Pursuing a sports career choice requires your child to grow up faster than what they would usually. Steven says,
‘I moved out of the house when I was 17 and went to WITS’.
There are many experiences that come with this career choice that can ask a lot of your child. This includes living away from home and frequent travelling which pushes your child to become independent. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it’s just a tough thing when your child is fresh out of school. You could be giving your child the opportunity to grow in independence and know how to take care of themselves from a young age.
3. The Money Struggle
‘Being money savvy is also a big challenge, as sportsmen get thrown into big money at a very age’,
says the young goalie.
Having someone like a parent or a guardian to guide their finances, so that they’re saving and not just blowing their dough, is so valuable.
4. And their Morals go out the Window…
It’s possible to get consumed by the lifestyle that comes with being a professional athlete.
‘It’s very easy to get sucked into a life of alcoholism and partying’
It will help if your child focuses on why they wanted this dream in the first place. Having family and friends to continuously ground them is also important. If your child has a solid foundation, they won’t be easily caught up in the loose-living lifestyle.
5. But the stress of it all…
You are probably thinking that there are many other off-the-field challenges that could negatively affect your child. Maintaining a balanced diet is one challenge while having a fitness plan and being wary of the media that may cross your path are other valid concerns. Relationships often change if a person is put in the spotlight. For example, your child could find that all of a sudden people start befriending them. This could be for their image or money. Some relationships can get complicated like the ones your child has with their coach and teammates. Home is where the heart is and if your child knows that they have strong, real relationships with their family, this should not become a major cause for concern.
Steven’s advice to any aspiring, young athlete is to believe in their talent, focus on their goal and strive to achieve it while remaining humble.
‘People will break you down but you need to have a very strong heart and a very strong mind. Get a degree behind your name, sport is a very short career and sometimes things happen and you can’t play or compete anymore’,
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