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Underachieving Kid

If you've ever seen your kid give less than 100 percent during a ball game, then you know how tempting it is to give her a hard time about it. Instead, try these tips from Joel Fish, Ph.D., author of 101 Ways to Be a Terrific Sports Parent:

Breed success with success. High-five all aspects of your child's experience --getting fit, learning new skills, being a good sport -- to inspire her to keep trying. You can say, "You were a great teammate today. I'm really proud of you."

Analyze, don't criticize. Instead of scolding, ask your child why she didn't overrun the bag or what she might have done better.

Lower your expectations. We're so used to watching pros, we may expect our kids to have the same focus and discipline. You can dress them up in cleats or shoulder pads, but they're still goofy 8-year-olds.

Let her quit. If your child insists, taking a season off at 7, 8, or 9 isn't the end of the world. Kids grow so fast that there's little point in specializing in a sport that young anyway.

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