I’ll admit I have absolutely no personal experience on this front. But I’ve coached a fair amount of school sport and studied some of the youth athlete developmental theories back in my days as a Sport Science undergraduate, with those lessons and my own experiences as a youngster taking up sports, here are a few key lessons.
Let Kids Play
There’s enough pressure to perform in all other areas of a child’s life, so don’t force them to get serious about mountain biking or any other sport too early. If you want them to foster a life-long affinity with exercise it’s essential that they learn to see sport as fun.
Don’t force your child to make limiting choices in their sport until it’s clear that they absolutely have to. Even if they have potential to make a career out of a sport, let them do other sports for as long as possible, especially team sports. And if they decide to focus on cycling, encourage them to do as many disciplines as the cost implications will allow.
Don’t Project Your Dreams
Your child might not share your dreams, so just because you would have loved to be a professional mountain biker there’s no guarantee they’ll happily choose that path. Talent is only part of the package and if they don’t share your vision don’t force it upon them. Yes as a parent you only want what’s best, but I’ve seen too many parents going so overboard that you just know the kid is hating every minute of it. Don’t be that parent.
Read Dr Mike’s Column
If you’re interested in a more scientific and researched approach to raising you’re young trail ripper read Dr Mike’s column.
Also in this issue you’ll find a profile by Kathryn Fourie on the multi-talented Sabine Thies, reports on the Spur School and Junior Eliminator Series and loads of kid’s bikes, including a kids’ bike review.
I hope you enjoy the issue and be sure to send us your thoughts. Get in touch with Full Sus via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tweet me at @SeamusAllardice.