Raising a Basketball Player
The playoffs of any sport can inspire kids to set new goals and aspirations for their future as an athlete. NCAA March Madness is no different. As the tournament progresses, the tales of hard work, underdog achievement and ultimate glory unfold and inspire boys and girls everywhere to pick up a ball.
Many Christian parents find themselves now faced with the question “how do I support my child’s dream, perhaps even her real ability, while instilling in her the tools she’ll need to live out her Christian faith on and off the court?”
There’s no perfect formula for raising a child to embrace their own personal relationship with Jesus. There is no promise that your efforts to honor God as you raise them will result in an adult who will share their faith boldly. But there are some tools you can use early on to expose them to good influences, role models, education and the opportunities to practice living out their faith through their love of basketball.
We can offer some practical resources as a jumping off point for your job of raising a basketball star who will view the court as his mission field.
- Sue Stewart: “I thought basketball would take care of my insecurities”
- Pete Maravich: “I decided once I got the ring, I’d have time for God”
- NC State Wolfpack coach Kay Yow, 1942-2009
- Amare Stoudemire
- Coach John Wooden
- … more role models on Beyond The Ultimate
Camps, Internships & Opportunities
- Athletes In Action Canada’s basketball camps near you
- Athletes In Action USA basketball camps for all ages all over the country
- Friday Night Basketball: A place for kids to learn the fundamentals and build character
- AIA Internships for the college or university athlete
- Encourage your older child that, with practice, they could be part of an international team tour with AIA US
- Endless opportunities with AIA to grow is skill as a play while growing in character as a Christian
For Parents: It Starts With You
- Article: The art of asking great questions
- Get involved with your child: Consider volunteering
- If the coach is a Christian, encourage him to attend the annual Final Four event
- Daily Devotional: Passing on our faith to our kids
- Involvement in sports creates a busy schedule. Make quality time with your kids
- Breakthrough Prayer Ministry
- Connect with an email prayer mentor who can come alongside you in praying for your kids
- Let your 16-21 year old know how they can talk to a Teen & Young Adult Mentor
One former player who spent almost 20 years involved in competitive sports gave this advice to parents,
“Get to know your kid’s coach. Especially at a young age this person will have a huge influence on you child. You need to be confident that the coach has standards and a vested interest in the discipline of his team, on and off the court. Getting involved with the teams your kids play with, as a manager or team parent, might also be a good way to be-in-the-know about the influences, experiences and pressures your kids are exposed to.”
It is important for every Christian parent to remember that your child will look to you as their first example of what living a life of faith looks like. Before their friends, teammates and coaches become their bigger influences, take hold of the opportunities to live out your faith in front of your kids. God gave us His wisdom through Solomon who said, “Point your kids in the right direction— when they’re old they won’t be lost.” (Psalm 22:6 as paraphrased in The Message)
Let them see your example and they will have a firm foundation to take into the competitive world of sports.