5 Signs Your Child Could Be a Pro Athlete Someday

Julie Bitely

| 3 min read

pro athlete
Under the softball diamond spotlights or the shiny glow of an ice rink, many kids find a passion for sports and dream of one day “going pro”. You may have even envisioned your little one cheered on by their city at a major league sporting event or accepting an MVP award many years down the line.
It’s easy to see why most professional athletes deserve the accolades they receive, but everyone starts out as a kid with a dream. To learn more about the transition from young athleticism to student and professional playing, we talked to Carol Hutchins, head coach of women’s softball at the University of Michigan. With over 30 seasons of coaching at U of M and many other noteworthy accomplishments, Coach Hutchins, or Coach Hutch as she is more commonly known, has seen many great athletes take the field. She shared her insights on what makes a great athlete and traits to recognize early on, among young players:
  1. They like to learn: The best athletes have natural talent, but also learn from their mentors. Hutchins agreed that success can be measured in your open-mindedness to new ideas, “Kids can be better athletes by coming in every day open-minded to getting better at all the fundamental skills in their sport. When people ask you to get better, it’s not because you aren’t good, it’s because you’re not where you need to be to be your best.”
  1. They are resilient: “The majority of the kids who have left U of M’s softball program have gone on to be successful because they have learned to persevere,” Hutchins said. “They learned to overcome adversity and they learned to be a great team player.”
  1. They eat right: Diet is just as much a factor to sports performance as dedication and practicing the sport. Though not all kids understand how to eat right at first, it is something that can be learned according to Hutchins, “I’ve seen kids come into the program with absolutely no knowledge of nutrition and learn a lot about how to eat well, how to eat for sports performance, and how to eat to get stronger.”
  1. They’re optimistic: Having a positive outlook is a major advantage to young athletes who want to be successful. Kids who look at setbacks as an opportunity can advance in their sport more quickly. “Kids have to learn that when you fall down, it’s not a bad thing. You have to get yourself up,” Hutchins said.
  1. They have an enthusiasm for their sport: The first step in fostering a healthy, happy and successful child athlete is knowing that the child loves what they are doing. Hutchins’s love of softball was apparent, “I love going to practice every day, I love being on the field and I love when the team is out on that field.” Help your child find an activity that they truly enjoy and their abilities will only improve from there.
This blog post is part of #MIKidsCan, an initiative created by Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan to promote positive change in the health and well-being of Michigan youth. To learn more about the campaign, visit https://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/mikidscan
What do you think makes a kid a promising athlete? Tell us in the comments below!
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Photo credit: Steven Pisano

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