What It Takes to Raise an Athlete


Image courtesy Debbie Trout
Sponsored by BODYARMOR Sports Drink

As moms of aspiring sports stars, we try to give our kids every opportunity possible. We sign them up for recreational or competitive leagues, make sure they have all the gear they need, fill their water bottles with thirst-quenching sports drinks, shepherd them to practices and games in all kinds of weather, and cheer from the sidelines.

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But how we parent them off the field (or court, rink, turf, or track) is just as important – if not more so – than the sports-related support we provide. Major League Baseball MVP Mike Trout, center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and BODYARMOR Sports Drinks partner and investor, is a perfect example of how parental dedication and encouragement can pay off. Mike is more than just an amazingly talented athlete – he’s also well-respected by his teammates and coaches, and continues to be involved with his close-knit family back in his New Jersey hometown. Basically, he’s every mother’s dream!

So who better to share insight on what it takes to raise an athlete than Mike’s mom, Debbie Trout? We asked her to share some of her best “sports mom” wisdom with us.    

As a mom, how did you encourage your son’s athletic pursuits? What support do you feel was most valuable to him?

Of course, we encouraged him and gave him opportunities to get better in the things he enjoyed, like baseball. Driving him everywhere and making it possible for him to do what he wanted to do. But we also provided emotional support – if he had a bad game, I was there. His performance didn’t matter – whatever happened during the game, he knew my opinion would never change. He never really brought home the game, but sometimes during, you could see he was struggling. I think we encouraged him to not bring the game home with him. Mike is a go-getter, always moving onto the next thing, always on the go. Encouraging that helped him to not dwell on what happened [on the field].

It’s so important to keep young athletes well hydrated during practices and games. What makes BODYARMOR Sports Drink such a great product for them?

I wish they’d made it when Mike was young! He’d just cramp up. You can keep telling them to drink water, but BODYARMOR makes it easier [because of the delicious flavors]. And with all the chemicals they put in other stuff, as a mom, you want to make sure they’re getting something good for them, and BODYARMOR Sports Drinks provide that.

What one piece of sports-related advice do you wish you had gotten when Mike was younger?

If only someone would have told me how much time would be involved [with sports]! But it didn’t take away from my other children. They had to adapt to his schedule for travel ball, but I always made sure we had some kind of family time together. That’s really important to all three of the kids – they love being around family.

Let me tell you – there were nights when my husband was coaching, and the boys had baseball, and my daughter had softball. I would order pizza and have drinks and paper plates in the car, and we would eat dinner on the way to or from [practice or games], but we were all together. I think a lot of families now don’t make that kind of time.

A parent doesn’t always shape their child’s athletic skill, but they do play an important role in developing those equally important intangibles, like respect, winning and losing gracefully, and appreciating teamwork. How did you help impart these values at home, off the field?

I think our family set very simple rules at home: being a good person, being kind, being a great giver – not just a taker, being polite, and being respectful. And always being a good teammate. And not just on the field, but also at home. We were a team at home, his brother and sister too. Not one of those things [is specific to] baseball. They come first and foremost.

Kids need to be taught how to listen to their bodies’ cues, and give them what they need, especially when it comes to hydration. Did this always come easily to Mike?

[Retired MLB player] Torii Hunter really helped him with that, how to look for signs of dehydration. Mike has really thrown himself into [being a spokesperson for BODYARMOR Sports Drinks] because they helped him so much, physically. He would cramp up so much when he was young, I wish we would have had it back then!

I believe his favorite flavor is Orange Mango, but he does like Strawberry Banana, too. They all taste so good, which is such a plus! And they aren’t full of artificial colors or flavors.

 

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