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Be A Good Sport: Introducing Children to Team Sports

sports fieldMy son is a very active little boy. I thought that sports would be a great way for him to burn off some of his energy while also learning important lessons about teamwork and perseverance. However, I felt like I didn’t know where to start. There are so many different sports and programs for kids available around here. It’s awesome to have such an array of options,

but how in the world do you decide which sport would be the best fit for your child?

soccer ball, leaves

I also worried about enrolling my son in sports because I never played on any teams as a child. I preferred dance lessons and swim classes to team sports. I was not very athletic and had undiagnosed asthma, which didn’t help matters. I ran on the track team in middle school simply because they let everyone participate. My only goal was to not finish last. After I managed to sprain my ankle in gym class playing mat ball, my short athletic career was over. With this complete lack of experience, how could I possible guide my son into a childhood of playing sports?

I started off by sticking with what I know.

I enrolled my son in swim lessons from an early age. He naturally enjoys being in the water and really enjoyed his lessons. A success! When my son was four, I decided to branch out and enroll him in an Intro to Sports class, so that he could explore a bunch of different team sports and see which one he liked the best. This seemed like a great idea, but it turned out that he hated them all. My son did not want to follow directions at all. He spent a lot of time crying when things didn’t go exactly the way he wanted. This experience was an absolute disaster and I was worried that my son would never play sports at all.

basketball hoop

Luckily, I can be very stubborn at times, so I didn’t give up on my son.

He has always enjoyed running around, so I enrolled him in a track and field class and crossed my fingers. After the disaster with the last class, I was simply hoping that there would be less crying this time around. Although the crying didn’t completely disappear, it did indeed lessen and my son was actually looking forward to his class instead of dreading it. He still didn’t completely follow the directions, but it was definitely a vast improvement over his last experience. Track and field is a nice fit for my son because he could be part of a team, but still have the independence to run his own race. He was very disappointed when he could never win a race, but that gave me a great opportunity to talk to him about being a good sport.

He may not understand that concept yet, but it sets a good foundation.

One day this spring, my son came home from school with a flyer for youth lacrosse. This is a sport that I know nothing about except that Chris Klein made a very cute lacrosse player in American Pie. My husband and I kept debating whether or not to enroll our son in the program right up until the deadline. On one hand, my son did not have a very good track record with sports programs. On the other hand, I liked that this particular program was an easy schedule and didn’t cost very much money. In the end, I overruled my husband and decided to enroll our son in the lacrosse program. I want to give him a chance to explore sports that he might end up liking. What’s the worst that would happen anyway? If my son really ended up hating the program, then he never had to play lacrosse again.

boy, snack, lacrosse stick

We are now three weeks into the program and my son loves it! As a complete beginner, he is obviously not very good at lacrosse yet, but he doesn’t seem to be frustrated by that. I’m so relieved that he has been following directions and fully participating in all the drills. Best of all, there has been absolutely no crying so far! So far, this program has been a great way for my son to get some exercise and learn about teamwork. I’m so glad that I decided to give him a chance to try a new sport!

If your child has had a bad experience with sports, please don’t give up! Keep exploring different options and hopefully one of them will be a great fit for your family!

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One Response to Be A Good Sport: Introducing Children to Team Sports

  1. Cindy Sterling June 30, 2016 at 11:41 am #

    What a great topic for a blog! I’m sure other parents have faced similar situations and will appreciate this.

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