Add to GoodReads

Parenting Young Athletes

Developing Champions in Sports and Life

Frank L. Smoll and Ronald E. Smith

Parenting Young Athletes tells readers exactly how to enhance the well-being of their children, both on and off the athletic field/court. The latest information on child development, sport psychology, and sports medicine is translated into a practical “how-to” guide that assists parents in assuring their sons and daughters get the most out of youth sports. The authors, seasoned experts in the field, thoughtfully address a wide range of issues including:
  • Promoting achievement in all areas of life
  • Choosing the right sport program
  • Understanding the unique nutritional needs of young athletes
  • Identifying, treating, and preventing sport injuries
  • Helping children cope with disappointment and performance anxiety
  • Applying positive principles of coaching and character-building
  • Addressing the special concerns of high school athletes
  • Recognizing and preventing bullying and abuse
  • Growing together as a family through sports

Engagingly written, Parenting Young Athletes is targeted at parents of youngsters from elementary through high school years. Geared toward parents who have relatively little athletic experience as well as those who have a strong background in sports, the book provides clear recommendations with enlightening examples and real stories of growth-promoting sport experiences. Key concepts and principles are highlighted throughout. Parenting Young Athletes explores the joys as well as the dangers of sport participation and is a must-read for parents who hope to raise champions in sports and in life.
« less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 232Size: 5 3/4 x 8 3/4
978-1-4422-1820-8 • Hardback • August 2012 • $35.00 • (£23.95)
978-1-4422-1821-5 • Paperback • August 2016 • $25.00 • (£15.95)
978-1-4422-1822-2 • eBook • August 2012 • $23.00 • (£15.95)
Frank L. Smoll, Ph.D., is professor of Psychology and a member of the Center for Child and Family Well-Being at the University of Washington. Smoll’s research focuses on coaching behaviors in youth sports and on the psychological effects of competition on children and adolescents. He has authored more than 130 scientific articles and book chapters and coauthored/edited 22 books and manuals on children’s athletics. Smoll is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the National Academy of Kinesiology, and the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). Smoll is a Certified Sport Consultant and was the recipient of AASP’s Distinguished Professional Practice Award. As an undergraduate, he played on championship basketball and baseball teams, and he is a member of the Ripon College Athletic Hall of Fame. In the area of applied sport psychology, Smoll has extensive experience in conducting psychologically oriented coaching clinics and workshops for parents of young athletes.

Ronald E. Smith, Ph.D., is professor of Psychology and Director of the Clinical Psychology Training Program at the University of Washington. He has also served as head of the Social Psychology and Personality area, and as codirector of the sport psychology graduate program. Smith’s major research interests are in personality, stress and coping, and performance enhancement research and intervention. He has published more than 200 scientific articles and book chapters, and he has authored or coauthored 34 books and manuals. Smith is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, a past president of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, and the recipient of a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute for his contributions to the field of mental health. For 12 years, he directed a psychological skills training program for the Houston Astros and has served as team counselor for the Seattle Mariners and as a training consultant to the Oakland Athletics and to Major League Soccer.
1. You and Your Child in Sports: Sanity and Madness in Competition
2. Psychology and Young Athletes: What Parents Can Do
3. Physical Development: Young Athletes’ Bodies and Performance
4. Choosing a Sport Program: A First Step to a Good Experience
5. Nutrition and Young Athletes: Food for Sport
6. Sport Injuries: When the Colors of Sports Are Black and Blue
7. Athletic Stress: Developing Coping Skills Through Sports
8. What? You Want Me to Coach?
9. Male and Female High School Athletes: Drugs, College Recruiting, and Other Concerns
10. Surviving Youth Sports: A Commonsense Approach to Some Challenging Issues

About the Authors
Explores both the joys and dangers of sports participation and translates the latest wisdom on the subject into a practical, how-to guide that helps parents to ensure that their children get the most out of the game.
OnWisconsin Magazine

Do you know how to be a good sports parent? By high school, it’s too late. That’s the conclusion reached by Frank Smoll and Ronald Smith, two University of Washington psychologists who have studied youth sports for more than three decades. The two have seen a lot that is wrong today’s youth sports climate and have come up with a surefire way to make the experience more rewarding for kids and parents alike. But their approach won’t work if parents wait until high school to rethink their behavior. Not when 75 percent of kids who participate in sports quit by the time they’re 13. The two have a new book out with a sneaky title: Parenting Young Athletes: Developing Champions in Sports and Life. That might cause parents to think it contains the magic recipe for producing a winning child athlete. After all, isn’t that what it means to be a champion? But what the book actually covers are lessons aimed at parents, not their kids. The authors aren’t taking on the out-of-control dad who gets written up in the police blotter for disputing an umpire’s call....Smoll and Smith advocate an approach that focuses on preparation, effort and mastery. If both coach and athlete are giving it their best effort, with a goal of mastering the necessary skills, the results will be more fun, less performance anxiety and, in the long run, fewer drop-outs.
The Star-Ledger

This book is a must read for parents who want to understand their role in the youth sport experience, and want to trust the information on which this understanding is based. When Professors Smoll and Smith began their research on youth sports over three decades ago, the few publications on the topic were merely opinion pieces because there was no scientific evidence. With their leadership, research blossomed. Using this scientific knowledge, the authors speak sensitively to parents about the timely and timeless issues involved in the youth sport experience. Beginning with a gripping opening letter from a young athlete to his parents, the book is filled with poignant, meaningful, and sometimes humorous quotes and stories that vividly reinforce the scientific points under discussion.
Tara K. Scanlan, Ph.D., professor of psychology, and director of the International Center for Talent Development, Department of Psychology, UCLA

In Parenting Young Athletes, Drs. Smoll and Smith have written a must-read for all parents of children involved in sports. In today's sometimes-crazy world of youth sports, this book offers insight and direction to help parents ensure that their children's athletic experiences are fun, positive, and healthy.
Jim Taylor, author of Positive Pushing: How to Raise a Successful and Happy Child

Frank Smoll and Ron Smith have provided invaluable insight into the sensitive issue of parental involvement in youth sport programs. Their work provides unique and vital assistance that has been developed through extensive scholarly research and practical application, which is a rare combination. Frank and Ron have taken the foundation of their caring and scholarship and infused their passion for making sure that sports are done right and that they remain a positive part of our youths' lives.
Mike Colbrese, executive director, Washington Interscholastic Activities Association

Dr. Smoll and Dr. Smith’s approach in this book lends well to the true mission of youth sports, and I would highly recommend and encourage that all parents, coaches, and anyone else who deals with children in the sports arena read it. The entire book is right on, from my experience. But of special interest to adults who really want to have a positive impact on the children under their charge are the sections on coaches' roles and responsibilities, parental behavior at practices and during competition, and putting youth sports in perspective.
James M. Gerstenslager, director, Little League Baseball and Softball, Western Region

Smoll and Smith have hit another home run. Drawing from decades of experience and research on youth sports, they offer invaluable advice for parents on how to help their young athletes realize the physical, social and emotional benefits of sport. They also provide keen insight on ways for parents to avoid some of the potential landmines of youth sport organizations. This book will undoubtedly help parents help their kids get the most out of their sport experience.
J. Douglas Coatsworth, professor of human development and family studies, Pennsylvania State University

Parenting Young Athletes: Developing Champions in Sports and Life is a ‘must have’ for any parent who is nurturing a young athlete. This book is a clear guide for all the questions that a parent might ask. It also shows how the skills and attitudes developed through sports apply to life beyond sports, which is a valuable lesson for all youth involved in sports. In fact, this book is an excellent resource for young athletes, as well as their parents, to read.
Beverly B. Palmer, Ph.D., coordinator, Sport and Fitness Psychology Program, California State University, Dominguez Hills

A thoughtful, comprehensive, and engaging read for parents of young athletes. Smoll and Smith summarize the rich data relevant to youth sports in a way that is accessible, relatable, and essential for parents. They include everything from nutrition and injury to stress and coaching, noting relevant differences for children and teens. Most impressive, they highlight the important role that parents can play to strengthen and ensure the benefits of sports for their children. Fantastic!
Stacy L. Frazier, associate professor of psychology, Center for Children and Families, Florida International University

Once again, youth sports pioneers Frank Smoll and Ron Smith, have written a book for parents that covers broad topics of concern in youth sports and clearly gives guidelines to many of the issues that arise with their child's participation. Not only does the book cover familiar topics as addressing excessive pressure that comes with overemphasis on winning, but discussed are a myriad of topics of current concern, such as coping with youth sports injuries, stress on young athletes, gender issues, what to do when asked to coach, and a guide for survival of the youth sports experience. Smoll and Smith have produced a very useful, wide-ranging and practical guide for parents with children in sports.
Bill Ford, director, Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), Diocese of Oakland, California

Smoll and Smith have provided parents with an absolutely marvelous guide to involving their children in sports. Their book is a delight to read and is filled with excellent advice, as well as a comprehensive description of the relevant research and quite inspirational stories. Reading this book will help parents manage the complicated, and often worrying, world of youth sports. I recommend it to all parents, teachers, and youth sport coaches.
Jacquelynne S. Eccles, Ph.D., distinguished university professor, University of Michigan

Smoll and Smith offer a must-read guide for parents seeking to ensure healthy and fulfilling sport experiences for their children.
Alan L. Smith, Ph.D., professor and chairperson, Department of Kinesiology, Michigan State University

Drawing on their decades of research and professional experiences working with young athletes, Drs. Smoll and Smith have written the winning book on children and sport. With so many kids participating these days, parents and coaches need practical, competent and easy to apply strategies and ideas for how to create a healthy sport environment and help their children thrive. This book delivers!
Trent A. Petrie, Ph.D., director, Center for Sport Psychology, University of North Texas

Drs. Smoll and Smith provide a timely and highly important text for parents whose children participate in sports. As a practicing M.D. at a large academic institution, I appreciate the extensive research used throughout to support the authors’ main points. As a parent of two young children, I have become concerned with the ever increasing demands placed on our kids to perform at a high level in competition and the physical and emotional toll this can take on their well-being and development. Passages about well-meaning yet over-zealous coaches (and parents!), data on age-independent differences in rates of physical maturation, and the diagnosis, care, and recovery regimens for injured young athletes were all fascinating to read and can help parents recognize when they are helping, or hurting, their children. This book is an essential read for the parents of athletically gifted youngsters, for parents whose children enjoy sports beyond competitions for its social benefits, and for coaches alike.
Michael A. Teitell, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chief, Division of Pediatric and Neonatal Pathology, Departments of Pathology and Pediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

For over four decades, Frank Smoll and Ron Smith have been studying young athletes, their parents and their coaches. This lifetime of work has culminated in their book, Parenting Young Athletes: Developing Champions in Sports and Life. The book is a practical guide for parents of young athletes that is based on years of scientific research. Smoll and Smith address the things parents need to know most about fostering a positive youth sports experience for their child, from how to select a program to understanding how to insure the youth sports experience is a safe one, both physically and psychologically.
The authors recognize that serious questions have been raised about the desirability of youth sports and the answers to the questions are not simple. At the same time they provide practical down-to-earth guidelines for parents to follow. From reading the book parents will learn how to be a source of support for their young athletes versus a source of stress. They will learn ways to keep wining in perspective by adopting the developmental model of youth sports; an approach that allows youth sports to be an arena for learning, where success is measured in terms of personal growth and development. The result is a way to help every child reap the many benefits of sport and, in turn, help prepare them for a successful life.

Daniel Gould, Ph.D., professor and director, Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, College of Education/Department of Kinesiology, Michigan State University