It’s almost every father’s dream to see their child play on their first sport’s team. Regardless of whether or not they end up playing long term, just to see their little kid out on the field is a point of pride that can often last a lifetime. Unfortunately, because of this exact reason, many children are rushed into sports before their ready, ruining what could have been a great thing and, perhaps, souring them on sports forever. So, if you are wondering whether or not to put your child into sports, keep these tips in mind; they should be useful in the long run.
1. Don’t Rush Them: Every child has his/her own development speed and, even if they are technically old enough for team sports, your child may not be ready physically or emotionally. Make sure they can be team players, and make sure they can grasp the core physical concepts of sports before you start them. Nothing is more off-putting than failure, and if they are set up to do so, they may develop a resentment for sports that lasts a lifetime.
2. Let them Choose: When it comes to sports, you need to let your children have a bit of autonomy, particularly when they are choosing. True, you might want them to be the next Peyton Manning; however, if they want to play or try out soccer or baseball, you shouldn’t stop them (unless you have good reason to doubt their desire). To help them choose, try taking them to the park so they can figure out what they want to play. Let them try different things before signing them up for expensive little league; they’ll certainly be happier when all is said and done.
3. Introduce them to Professional Sports: If you want to make absolutely sure your child likes a certain type of sport, maybe try letting them watch college or professional sports on TV or in person. Take them to the game so they can get a feel of what they might enjoy (though you don’t have to let them know that’s what you’re doing). When all is said and done, they might have an easy choice to make, as well as a new passion in life!
4. Take into Account their Physical Well-Being: Is your kid pee-wee sized, but too old for the lower age groups? Does he already have some health issues that still need to be worked out? If so, sports might not be the place for him/her. Maybe low contact stuff—like gymnastics or other such sports—might be a good idea to try out, but not full-on team sports. Remember; if their small, uncoordinated, and don’t seem like they could be on par with anyone else, they might end up hurting themselves. And, though pain is part of the process, excessive pain may turn them off from sports—keep that in mind, and be careful!
Other than that, just make absolute sure your kid wants to do what you are getting them into. Don’t force them, and don’t bring too-high expectations; it’s better for their development, which is much more important than your pride as a father.