As someone who has participated in many children’s and youth sports – as a kid and now as an adult – I have noticed some of the questions parents often ask themselves. Generally, “large” is a difference between:
What is the appropriate sport activity for your child?
And when they come to me and ask me that question, it usually means that they just want to reaffirm their belief that “softball, right?”
Now, as a huge softball and baseball fan, I would like to be the first to admit that there is no clear answer to the sport your kids should be playing. What parents care about shouldn’t be a determining factor. For young children, I think the main thing is that they really like what they are doing and that it is better for them to try a lot of sports and activities.
However, of course, there are some global facts that can be taken into account when choosing which youth sports to participate in. Like the fact that team sports can teach your child valuable lessons about cooperation, or that learning to swim usually speaks of something big. Idea in any case.
Likewise, any sport or activity that promotes both physical fitness and the child’s coordination in a balanced way is highly recommended. Athletics, gymnastics or wrestling, for example.
Should I choose a sport that I think my child will be good at?
You want newbies to do well, I get it. But even so, this question also has no right or wrong answer. First, you might not know what your son will do until he has already taken a hit in the sport in question. Just because someone isn’t “normal” from day one doesn’t mean they won’t be good at the end.
Second, children’s sport should first and foremost be about play, fun, movement and discovering new challenges. Training to improve weak spots can certainly help, but not at any cost. If your child is starting to lose interest in sports, you may have gone too far.
Should I encourage my child to continue even if he loses interest?
This is a very difficult question, to which young sports experts seem to have different answers. You really have to determine it on a case-by-case basis.
All in all, it can certainly help to encourage a certain level of persistence, even if not every workout is very enjoyable. But you should also keep in mind that the cause of the loss of interest may be other than the sport itself. For example, your child may initially feel like an unwanted stranger in their new sport. The sport that interests my child is not available in our city
The only way around this, of course, is to try and find the nearest place where the sport in question is actively practiced. However, as long distance travel can be heavy and expensive in the long run, this could definitely be a good reason to consider trying another sport instead.
But don’t kill your child’s dream right away, just because it doesn’t seem appropriate. Ideally, you can try to attend an organized sports camp in a nearby city or county, which will allow you to get to know the sport well and then decide if it is worth it.
Michael Miller has been passionate about softball, baseball and skiing for decades. Over the years he has participated in many different sports as a child, parent and coach.