Kid's Sports, Make It Fun!
Dialling back the competition.
When our children are young it can be easy to become over-excited if they show early talent in anything; this is especially true of sport! Very quickly, we become wrapped up in their development and advancement in the game and lose sight of what matters.
Our kids need us to support them no matter what. We must give them the space to try new things, make mistakes, and most importantly, we must encourage them to have fun when doing so!
Producing a sporting prodigy may restore the family honour or satiate an unfulfilled goal, but whose dream is it really, and what kind of damage can you cause by refusing a moment of honest reflection?
As a parent or mentor, you can hamper a child’s chances of sporting success by pigeonholing them at a young age.
Experts suggest that you expose your children to as many sports as they are willing to try as they grow; this will help their physical skills develop in a well-rounded manner. You will also expose them to the different types of discipline each sport demands.
Experts also agree that pre-puberty is not the time for assessing talent. Kids grow and develop at different rates, and although they may be big (or small) for their age, another year of rapid growth could see the whole team catch up or surpass them. The amount of time a parent has spent playing ball with them could enhance their skill for now, but ultimately it may have only given them a temporary edge.
Forcing your child to specialise in a sport too early can be a talent killer.
Surveys show that some of our most successful sportspeople played a variety of sports when they were younger. Specialising came later when the opportunity and the right team presented themselves.
For most children, specialising in one particular sport is best after 16 or 17 years of age, not 12, as many assume.
Competitive and pushy parents need to understand that for our kids, sport should be about learning to work as a team, making friends, gaining the confidence to try new things and being comfortable with losing or not being the best! These all combine as necessary life skills that will pay them huge dividends if they do go on to become successful sportspeople.
Let your child experience the highs and lows of being on a sports team, and the lessons that come from competing but pushing a child past their physical (and mental) capabilities will only end badly!
So what sports does your child play at the moment, and what would they like to try next?