My Child Wants to Quit a Team
By Robert Grasso, assistant director of athletics
Deciding whether or not to let your child quit a sport can be a difficult decision.
Should I allow my child to quit a sports team? The simple answer is no—at least not so easily—and in most circumstances, that would suffice. However, deciding whether or not to let your child quit a sport can be a difficult decision. On one extreme is the adage, “winners never quit, and quitters never win.” The other side of the argument is the belief that life is too short to continue a pursuit that is “boring,” “too difficult” or “unrewarding.” Ultimately, neither of those extremes is adequate.
Have the conversation (or several conversations)
If your child expresses a desire to quit an athletic team, your first course of action should be to determine what circumstances led to this feeling. Do not settle for a simple answer such as, “I’m not having any fun.” It’s essential to dig deeper and learn the root cause. Ask questions to better understand:
Is your child experiencing a greater challenge than they are used to?
Is your child experiencing adversity for the first time?
Is there frustration about playing time?
Is the team struggling to win?
Is the coach more demanding than your child is used to?
These are all issues that will ultimately help your child to learn perseverance. Challenge your child to not give up easily by having these important discussions. You may be able to talk your child through the decision and emerge from the conversation with a change of heart. You may also consider speaking to the coach to get a different perspective on the situation.
Know your why
It’s important to remember why we initially involved our child in athletics. At La Jolla Country Day School, we have a list of 13 lessons that should be learned through athletics. If your child is learning valuable life-lessons such as self-responsibility, delayed gratification, teamwork and overcoming fears through their experience, then quitting should be reconsidered.
When to call it quits
Of course, there are circumstances when an athletic setting may be unhealthy for a child and removal from the team is necessary. Perhaps the coach is publicly humiliating players or is verbally abusive. You may have determined that sport-specific learning and life lessons are not being taught. These are circumstances when leaving the team may be in the best interest of your child.
The LJCDS philosophy
At La Jolla Country Day School, we provide a period at the beginning of each season when the Middle School and Upper School students have the opportunity to try multiple sports before making a final decision as to which sport to commit.
Upper School student-athletes have until the first competition to leave a team without repercussions. Once the competitions begin, the athletes are expected to remain with the team throughout the season. We believe that teaching our young athletes to honor their commitments is important. In most cases, student-athletes will emerge from the season having learned many of the essential life lessons that translate into the classroom and their everyday lives.