As a multiple martial arts school owner for over twenty years and as a parent I have had to guide parents in motivating their children and my own in both martial arts and other endeavors.  Here are some ideas that have helped our members raise successful martial arts athletes.  I hope they help you also.

  1. Be Consistent:  Structure is very important for children to be successful in marital arts and sports.  For instance if they have class twice a week make sure they attend twice a week.  If you can’t make your normal day than let your child know at the beginning of the week that they will be attending on a different day.  If you need to miss a week entirely then make sure they know they will make those days up.  If they are missing a team practice they would make that up by practicing on their own in the yard or at the field.
  2. Over Communicate:  At the beginning of each week remind them that they have class that week and what days.  The day before class remind them that they have class tomorrow and the day of as they leave for school remind them they have class or practice later.  When they get home from school it is helpful to give them another heads up “remember we have class/practice in an hour.”  If you go without these reminders you will be shocked how many times you tell your child to get ready for class/practice and they had no idea.  Now you have to change gears from whatever play they were doing and get them out the door.
  3. Teach Them to Keep Their Commitments:  If your child says they want to play baseball or soccer this season or do martial arts, then they are committing to something, as are you.  If they start to give resistance than work with the instructor/coach to help motivate them or find ways to make it more fun for them.  Letting them stop should not be an option as that almost always creates a serial quitter.  We are teaching them that they can start something and then just stop when they want to regardless of the promise made to teammates, coaches or you the parent.  Children learn this habit of quitting quickly and will carry it with them.  If they want to stop they may after they finish out the season or sessions.  At the very least they have now learned the valuable lesson of finishing what they start and keeping their promises.
  4. Actively Engage:  What is worse is most of the times children stop activities it was for something relatively small and easy to overcome.  The parents, however, are relieved by the potential freed up time not bringing them offers or the cost savings and jump at the chance to stop.  Instead we need to engage with them in their activities.  Learn about what they do and have conversations about those activities.  If it is martial arts find some interesting movies you could watch together with martial arts.  If it is soccer they like than watch some games together and discuss what is going on during the game.  Practicing with them is a great way to get them engaged as it is now something they can do with you!
  5. Prepare Them for Success:  Give them the tools they need to be successful.  Help them to be ready with all of their equipment on time.  Make sure they have everything they will need to participate in their activities.  Make sure they are on time for practices, which, means we as parents need to be on time.  Punctuality is an inherent part of discipline so here is a chance to teach them another life skill.
  6. Positive Correction Rather Than Criticism:  As a final tip be positive.  Parents can have a bad habit of going over all of the things their children do wrong during practice.   Instead praise the positive.  We as parents of athletes should aim for an 80/20 principle with praise to correction.  We will more meat on the bones of positive correction in a future blog as it is so important.

Published: June 22, 2021

Categories: Benefits of Martial Arts