How to Raise A Professional Athlete | Politics in Kids Sports

Why I am shocked at anything that comes out of the mouth of LaVar Ball?

You know...LaVar... Ball.

The very loud, very obnoxious, very voicetress and vocal father of basketball phenoms Lonzo, LaMelo, and LiAngelo Ball. The Balls gained national attention roughly five years ago after some press about their family. Currently, Lonzo Ball plays for the New Orleans Pelicans as a point guard; playing in the same position is his brother, LaMelo is signed to the Charlotte Hornets; and LiAngelois playing for the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA G League after being suspended from UCLA for shoplifting in China. Yeah, that dude and those kids.

Loosely familiar with the Ball Family, it should not have been a surprise to me that he warned his sons against basketball "hoes" on the Endless Hustle Podcast. Seriously, this guy is reckless with his mouth. Basketball fans, athletes who have to play with his sons, and the league will grow tired of LaVar's antics eventually, but for now - let him be great.

Why? Because hate him or love him, LaVar has cajoled his children into the careers of their dreams, even surpassing their father's aspirations.

Yes, he managed to "parent" his children into the NBA and million-dollar contracts, but I wouldn't recommend his approach. There are many other parents who have managed to put their personalities in their pockets and push their children into stardom. If you too are looking to groom the next Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, or Michael Jordan I suggest you start early, navigating the cut-throat world of youth sports. I recently read a book that will prepare you and your young competitor long before signing day.

Chris Holmes, Sr. is also a father who coached recreation league and AAU basketball when his son began to show interest in the game. He took his years of experience and wrote Politics in Kids Sports, a must-read for parents, student-athletes, coaches, and athletic directors.

Ball's parenting approach is very Kardashian-like, full of dramatics, and attention-seeking. This can wreak havoc on a child before they ever step foot on a field or court. Chris Holmes has an entire chapter on parental over-involvement but he starts with the basics. As you read through the book, there is an emphasis on sportsmanship, training for excellence, and how to accept defeat.

As I read the book, I felt like I was in the locker room, dripping with sweat, ready to leave it all on the court. Chris goes into graphic detail about the importance of developing healthy eating habits, practicing at home, and the level of commitment to academics required to be a great student-athlete. He also shares some experiences his son had in dealing with athletic directors, other coaches, and referees.

This book is also an excellent reference for any parent who is new to youth sports. Politics in Kids Sports will give you an insider's view of just how cutthroat sports can be from biased referees to the potential for clashing attitudes with coaches. Chris poignantly shares having witnessed stronger, faster, more developed children be benched while sub-par players were chosen to start as a result of their parents' standing in the community or financial contributions to the school.

Chris Holmes, having coached and fathered student-athletes, wrote Politics in Kids Sports to prepare contenders and their parents to develop a love for the game that will grow into a desire to compete at higher levels while avoiding the slights of favoritism, the exhaustion of travel teams, and even the cost of registration and personal trainers.

Parents like LaVar Ball put undue pressure on their children by being unruly, thrown out of games for unbecoming behavior from the stands, and being an overall jerk to everyone who can make or break his children's careers. Order your copy of Politics in Kids Sports on to avoid becoming a parent, coach, or administrator like Ball. Read with your child, gift it to a teen athlete with hoop dreams, or a coach who could use the inspiration.


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