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How to Motivate Your Teenager to Keep Playing Sports

by Tiffany Raiford

Sports play an important role in the well-being of teenagers. Not only does participating in group sports allow your teen to make new friends and teach her how to work as a team, it’s also good for her health. Physical activity can lower her risk of obesity and related health issues, it can improve her mood and it may help her do better in school, according to KidsHealth. As a parent, it’s your job to make sure your teen has the motivation to continue playing sports throughout her life.

Explain why sports are important, advises Josh Shipp, teen communication expert, for Empowering Parents. For example, say your teen decides he no longer wants to play baseball because he has no free time to relax. Try explaining to him that his free time will be limited because not playing sports means he’ll have to find time to be physically active during his free time if he wants to stay healthy. You can also mention that playing sports looks good on college applications and if he’s good enough, it might even mean a scholarship to college -- which means fewer student loans and debt to pay in the future.

Remind your teen that playing sports is good for her confidence level. According to KidsHealth, it’s easier for kids who play sports to maintain a healthy weight and stay fit. Seeing herself improving with hard work will boost your teen's self-esteem level, too. Try playing into her competitiveness by reminding her how confident she feels after her team wins a big game or championship.

Ask him what he will miss most about playing sports if he were to make the decision to stop playing. This may help remind him of all the benefits of playing. If not, try reminding him that he won’t get to spend as much time with his friends because they’ll be at practice while he’s at home not doing anything. He won’t get the satisfaction of hearing all the congratulations and accolades for winning or playing in a championship game and he may even feel left out in his group of friends because they’re talking about practice, or the coach or strategy for the big game.

Encourage your teen to find a sport that she really enjoys and that she excels at. It may be a lot easier to motivate her to keep playing sports throughout her teen years if she’s playing something she loves. For example, if she’s been playing softball but struggles with it and doesn’t enjoy it, she might feel unmotivated to play again the following season. Instead of forcing her to play again, let her choose a different sport she shows more aptitude for, such as basketball or cheer leading.

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