Working with a new winter sports after-school class last week, there were a handful of children in the class who had been in Mindful Sports programs last season with us. Most of the children in the class are five and six-years-old. They were happy to see their coaches come back and excited to play! We played baseball, and several of them told me how much they loved the game.

These Kindergartners and First Graders, just learning how to run the bases, get runners out on defense, and swing the bat, can already feel that they love the game. They can express that emotion to a caring adult. And they can make a decision, with the help of their parents, to want to continue to play. This is something we, as mindful coaches, can foster in all young children beginning to play sports for the first time. Be enthusiastic with them, encourage their efforts, and applaud their journey. As mindful coaches, these early experiences are critical for us to help facilitate memories that kids need to create the desire to play as they grow up. If they don’t have fun at the beginning, it will be almost impossible to get them to come back.

As mindful parents, remember that the best thing to say to your young children is that you love watching them play! Don’t get caught up in the performance or outcomes. Continue to support their experiences and let’s help bring that love of the game. There’s plenty of time for “getting serious” if that’s what a child wants to do as they grow-up. Keep it fun!