As we celebrate Parents in Sport Week, I believe that there is little more enjoyable than witnessing your child’s mental and physical development as they practice and participate in their chosen sport. I am lucky enough to work at home, so as well as having the time to ferry my 13-year-old GS/GA daughter Lizzie to matches (I have never missed one) and training, I am motivator-in-chief for her S&C regime and even write match reports for the local paper.
However, the most enjoyable activity with Lizzie is helping her to practice her shooting.
We tend to talk about various things as she is practicing. I’m not sure that we would chat that much otherwise, so I try to make the most of it. The last three years of netball have thrown up a few of life’s great challenges, all discussed at length under her pink Harrod netball post:
Realism. Every eight-year-old netballer wants to play for England. By the time Lizzie was age ten, she was shooting 50/50 in the garden. We left her local team to join one of the “Big 3” junior clubs, and while she got into their A squad, it became clear that she wasn’t ready for the step up, so she left after a season. It was worth it, because she realised how high the bar was, but you have to accept where you are before you can get to where you want to be.
Perseverance. This initial setback didn’t stop her, and she was accepted into the Cambridgeshire U13 academy this year. Just because you aren’t the finished article at age eleven doesn’t mean that you can’t catch up later on. She is working hard on her movement and ball handling, and as she walks out to practice in the pouring rain, it warms my heart to see that her dream is still alive.
Focus. The one lesson from shooting that Lizzie will use most in her life is her ability to focus. I am unashamedly proud of her 97% shooting stats, and much of that is down to an ability to shut everything out and concentrate on delivering her skills. There are very few roles in sport where you need such a singular focus under immense pressure, and I am sure that her netball experience will serve her well in her adult life.
There are all sorts of hidden benefits when a parent becomes invested in their child’s sporting success. Netball has brought me closer to my daughter, and I am not sure what I will do if the shooting practice ever stops.
by Paul Drury
Find out more about Parents in Sport Week 2019.
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