Health & wellness

Tips for parents with a female athlete

- Don’t put too much pressure on your daughter to perform. Show her by your words and actions that you believe health and well-being to be more important than athletic success or having the perfect body.

- If your daughter is playing sports such as soccer and basketball, make sure she is trained early — at least by the start of middle school — in how to jump and land correctly.

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- Find coaches who are supportive rather than demoralizing.

- Get medical support at the first sign of a health problem, such as a fracture or loss of menstrual cycle. Focus on the big picture of her health, rather than just the single accident or problem.

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- Be on the lookout for eating disorders in female athletes, particularly in sports that value a certain physique or emphasize weight class. Talking about losing weight to perform or look better may be the first sign of an eating disorder.

- Encourage your daughter to play multiple sports, not focus solely on one, particularly in middle school and early high school.

- Keep sports activities developmentally appropriate. A 6-year-old should not be held to professional training standards or encouraged to win at all costs.

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- All children should be encouraged to play sports, not just those with early natural talent.

SOURCES: Dr. Kathryn E. Ackerman, Amy Baltzell, Sherrie Delinsky, Dr. Jo A. Hannafin

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