As someone who has been involved in various kids and youth sports – both as a kid and now an adult – I have noticed a few questions that parents often have. The “big one” is usually some variation of:
What would be an appropriate sporting activity for your child?
And when they come to me with that question it usually means that they just want to reaffirm their own belief that “It’s softball, right?”.
Now, as big a fan of softball and baseball I am, I What sports want to be the first one to admit that there is no obvious answer to what sport your kids should engage in. What the parents happen to be interested in should certainly not be the one determining factor. For young kids I think the main thing is that they really enjoy what they are doing, and ideally that they get to try many different sports and activities.
That said, one can of course take certain universal truths into account when picking the youth sports to get engaged in. Such as the fact that team sports can teach your child valuable lessons about cooperation, or that learning how to swim is generally speaking a great idea anyway.
Likewise, any sport or activity that enhances both the physique and coordination of the child in a well rounded manner are highly recommended. Athletics, gymnastics or wrestling for example.
Should I Select A Sport I Believe My Kid Will Be Good At?
You want junior to do well, I get that. But nonetheless this question hasn’t really got a right or wrong answer either. First off, you may not know how your kid will do before her or she has actually had a whack at the sport in question. And just because someone isn’t “a natural” from day one, doesn’t mean that they couldn’t eventually become rather good.
Secondly, kids sports should mainly be about playing and having fun, moving about and enjoying new challenges. It can certainly be beneficial to train on improving weak areas, but not at any cost. If your child starts to lose interest in the sport you may have gone too far.
Should I Encourage My Child To Continue Even If He/She Loses Interest?
This is honestly a very difficult question, that youth sports experts appear to have different answers to. It must really be determined on a case by case basis.
Generally speaking however, there can certainly be a point to encouraging a certain level of persistence, even if each and every practice session isn’t super fun. But you should also keep in mind that the reason for the lost interest can be something other than the sport itself. For example, your kid might initially feel like an unwelcome outsider in his or her new sport.
The Sport My Kid Is Interested In Isn’t Available In Our Town
The only way around this is, of course, to try to find the closest location where the sport in question is actively practiced. However, as traveling long distances can be both tiresome and costly in the long run it may certainly be a good reason to consider trying another sport instead.
But don’t kill off your child’s dream right off the bat, just because it doesn’t sound convenient. Ideally you can try to attend a sports camp arranged in a nearby town or county, that will allow you to properly acquaint yourself with the sport in question, and then determine if it is worth the effort.
Michael Miller has been passionate about softball, baseball and skiing for several decades. Over the years he has participated in many different sports as a kid, parent and coach.