Your child has shown an interest in joining a sport, but doesn’t have a specific one in mind, and it’s been ages since you played. Let’s go over a few steps in order to gauge your child’s interest, and how to help them choose a sport. Plus, a few things to remember as the parent involved – after all, no one likes the angry adult yelling at the teenage referee.
What are your Child’s Strengths?
The first step is to determine what your child is good at. Are they better with their feet or hands? Are they fast – like a wide receiver – or built better for blocking? Are they begging to take a turn when you are practicing your golf swing? Are they a leader or better following directions and carrying out a plan? And, possibly most importantly, are they better in a team or going solo?
The answers can help guide you towards a sport. Basketball, football, baseball, dance, tennis, martial arts, swimming, cross-country – all are viable sports that cater to different personalities. If your child shows interest in a particular sport you didn’t think of, pursue that first.
It’s important to be flexible. After a few games, your child might decide they don’t like the sport, that it’s not for them.
Take them Out to the Ballgame
Running out of ideas? Expose your child to a variety of sports. Take them to a basketball game. High school nearby playing baseball? Show them what the big kids are doing. Is your city’s hockey team legendary? Buy some tickets and watch the puck fly.
Admission to high school and college games can be cheap, an easy way into the sport. If they want to see the teams they watch on TV play, it will be more expensive. But, there are some options, such as ticket services that will give a partial refund if your home team loses by a wide margin.
Remember the Commitment
Your child has decided on a sport, and maybe even tried it for themselves. Remind your child that there is a commitment for sports. It will teach responsibility, but it requires going to practices and games. It will be hard at first – they may want to quit after just a few games or practices. But, as they improve their skills and feel they are getting good at their chosen sport, they will want to stick with it.
At the same time, don’t push your child too far. A single sport a few times a week probably won’t lead to burnout, but four sports at the same time, all with practice and actual games, will turn sports into a job, likely leading to resentment. Pace your child, and remember sports come in seasons.
It’s just a Game
Once your child has started playing, remember this is a fun pastime. Don’t go in expecting your child to be the next big sports star. Don’t pressure them; encourage them instead. Being that parent also yelling out about bad plays, how the other children could do better, how the referee made a bad call – these are not teaching good sportsmanship. The other parents will likely shy away from you, as well.
However, as a parent, there are more positive actions you can take to help your child succeed at sports. For example, as the TeamSnap Podcast suggests, you can find a mentor or professional coach for your child. They even have an episode on how to select the right coach and coaching style for your budding athlete. Plus, there’s tips on how to ensure the safety, including how to check for concussions.
It’s important to find the right sport for your child. They must have an interest in it and want to play or participate. It might be a solo sport or a team sport, but it will teach them commitment and responsibility. Once they start playing, don’t push them too hard. It’s not life-or-death, and they are children. Be sure to do your research, gather resources, and make informed decisions. Using all of this, your child will not just gain skills, but, most importantly, have fun.