The Simple Way to Help Your Kids Fall in Love with a New Sport
You may have the next Michael Phelps or Serena Williams on your hands, but first you have to get your kid to fall in love with swimming or tennis. And encouraging little ones to give a new sport a shot isn’t always as easy as you’d think. Your kids might be hesitant to try a new activity because they’re worried they won’t be any good, nervous about being in an unfamiliar social setting or not comfortable with change.
But it’s worth encouraging them to give new sports a try. Kids who play two or three sports become more well-rounded athletes, gain confidence, excel at working towards goals, meet more kids their own age and develop better relationships with adults. Here are a few simple ways to encourage a hesitant child to fall in love with a new sport this upcoming season:
- Start slow. Are they interested in a new sport, but not feeling confident enough to join a team just yet? Take the whole family out to your nearest park or gymnasium and practice together. Letting your child develop a feel for the new activity before jumping into competition can be just what they need.
- Get some friends involved. Being a part of a new team can be scary for social slow-starters, but the feeling of camaraderie from team sports helps build children’s confidence, sets the groundwork for a healthy life and even helps them excel in the classroom. Talk to other parents to see if your child’s closest friends can join the new league as well – this can help your children feel more comfortable in a brand new social situation.
- Don’t over-coach. The number one way to make a child hate a new sport is to be critical if they aren’t picking it up fast enough. It’s tempting to want to relive your own glory days as you watch your child begin a sport you once played, but don’t take the fun out of it. If your child feels comfortable playing at any level without the fear of being criticized, transitioning to a new sport will be much easier.
Sports camps are a great way to let your kids “dip their toes” into any new activity. Here are a few camps to explore this summer:
Interested in learning more about youth sports? Read these blogs:
- Do Youth Sports Teach Kids to See Exercise as Punishment?
- Thinking About Signing Your Kids Up for a Sports League? Here is a Little Advice from Other Parents
- So Your Kids Think They Can Dance? Why That’s a Good Thing!
Photo Credit: USAG Humphreys