Tuesday, 28 May 2024

TrueSport: Five Steps To Help Your Child Become a Leader

Leadership is a topic of great importance, both in and out of sports. The value of a leader who inspires, communicates effectively, and selflessly cares for others cannot be overstated. However, developing effective leadership skills can be challenging for young athletes. While many may have the opportunity to wear the captain’s “C,” few truly stand out from their teammates as leaders.

Fortunately, there are five key ideas that can help parents nurture their young athletes into becoming positive leaders:

Learn to Follow

Leadership cannot thrive without good followership. Often, the desire for recognition as a leader causes athletes to neglect the importance of being a team player. To learn how to lead, young athletes must first understand what it means to be an engaged follower. Encourage your child to develop positive team values and appreciate the significance of working well with others before taking on leadership roles. By focusing on themselves first, they will be better prepared to consider the well-being and actions of others.

Find a Role Model

Observing and learning from respected older athletes can be a valuable experience for young leaders. Encourage your child to pay attention to athletes who are a year or two older than them. Have them observe how these athletes communicate with their teammates and carry themselves during practices and games. Choosing a suitable role model will provide your child with valuable lessons in leadership and enable them to visualize themselves in future leadership roles.

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Embrace High Standards

Being a student-athlete leader requires embracing a slightly different mindset. This can be challenging for young adults, as fitting in and conforming to peer pressure often holds significant influence in their lives. Remind your child that they can still enjoy being a kid while setting a higher standard for themselves. Help them develop a few mature habits that they can take pride in. Additionally, acknowledge the stressors of leadership and growing up, and offer your support when they stumble.

Communicate Effectively

Effective leaders are effective communicators. Unfortunately, young leaders often resort to boasting and dominating others in their communication style. While passion for victory is admirable, such communication methods are ineffective. To be a great communicator, one must also be a great listener. Encourage your child to listen actively and use encouraging language that motivates and supports their team. Remind them that listening is the essence of effective communication, while preaching often falls on deaf ears.

Be Brave

Cheer on your young leader when they make an effort to do and say the right things. While these actions may seem basic to adults, they require bravery for a child. It can be intimidating to set a higher standard and face the challenges that come with being in the middle of passionate athletes and hard-working coaches. As a parent, acknowledge their courage and provide support during their journey of learning to lead.

By developing patience, quality communication skills, and a commitment to the values of leadership, your child will be better equipped to lead both on and off the field. Embracing leadership and the associated emotions will allow them to derive the most from their sporting experiences.

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TrueSport® is a grassroots movement driven by the experience and values of USADA (the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency). Its mission is to change the culture of youth sports by empowering young athletes with educational tools that help them develop life skills and core values for lasting success in all aspects of life.


Q: How can I help my child become an effective leader in sports?

A: To nurture effective leadership skills in your child, encourage them to learn to follow, find a suitable role model, embrace high standards, communicate effectively, and be brave in the face of challenges. By developing these qualities, your child will be well on their way to becoming a successful leader on and off the field.

Q: What is the significance of being a good follower before becoming a leader?

A: Good leaders understand the importance of being a team player. By learning to follow and appreciating the value of teamwork, young athletes can better understand the needs and actions of their teammates. This foundation will enhance their ability to lead effectively in the future.


Effective leadership is a valuable trait in both sports and life. To help your child become a leader, it is essential to emphasize the significance of being a good follower, encourage them to find a role model, embrace high standards, communicate effectively, and be brave in the face of challenges. By nurturing these qualities, your child will develop into a successful leader who can inspire, communicate, and care for others. Empower your child to become a leader and unlock their potential on and off the field.

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For more information and resources on youth sports and developing leadership skills, visit Alpinetgheep.com.