Thursday, February 19, 2015

How to get Children Interested in Sports

In America, sports are prevalent, from the giant urban dwellings, to the quiet rural habitations. Adolescents in America have a great opportunity to hone their skills in a sport with the hopes of one day getting to play at the collegiate or even the professional level. There are local gyms, private organizations, and even schools that provide the facilities and coaches to help mold a child into the best athlete possible  The only problem is, how do you get them interested?
It is easy to say we have facilities, coaches, and a great track record but if the kid has no interest in the sport you might as well be talking to a brick wall. There is an epidemic of childhood obesity and encouraging kids to be active through sport is a great way to change the rapidly growing problem. So how do you get kids to want to live a healthier lifestyle or simply play a sport?
First things first, be supportive. Not every kid is cut out for football but might be a little more suited for a slower paced game such as baseball. Let the child choose the sport they want to play even if it means they have to try a half dozen sports before finding something they like. It can be hard as a parent or guardian to let your child choose a sport that you may not find exciting or not the sport that you are so fond of. To this I say be proud in the fact your kid chose the sport because now it is a choice they had control over and will more likely want to stick with. Sometimes trying these new things can be intimidating but entering your child in a youth club such as Boys and Girls club can help your child give new activities a try.1 The Boys and Girls club supply mentors for each child and help give support in whatever your child is interested in.  
Be encouraging, as not all kids are going to run home one day and say they want to try out for the basketball team. Watch a few sports on TV and see if anything strikes their fancy and then find an easy learning environment that the child can try playing the sport without fear of judgment. I recommend exposing a child to sports at a fairly early age so they can learn the basic mechanics of sports in general. It will also make it easier for them to try out for sports in the future because they have some experience. A lot of kids are shy or insecure when trying something for the first time especially if it is something they are so sure about doing to begin with. So be their biggest fan, whether they fail or win letting them know that they are your champion will encourage them to try again and not give up. Organizations such as the YMCA support parent participation to encourage child participation.2
My last piece of advice for getting a child interested in sports is to play with them. It is a monkey see monkey do scenario. If a child sees you excited about a sport they will more likely be excited about it as well and want to play with you. Playing a pickup game of basketball with a kid is not only a good way to get them active and learn the skills of the game but it is also bonding time. It may seem like a small thing in the beginning but can make a huge impact in the end.
I believe that every kid should at least try one sport in their life time. f they don’t like it, they don’t have to do it again; but, hopefully, it will encourage them to at least be active. There are so many great opportunities for adolescents to be active and get involved with sports that it would be a great shame to let it go to waste.

1 How We Serve. (2015, January 1). Retrieved February 19, 2015, from http://www.bgca.org/whoweare/Pages/FactsFigures.asp

2 Areas of Focus. (2015, January 1). Retrieved February 19, 2015, from https://www.ymcahouston.org/focus-areas/

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