While it has been fun – and exhausting – to be a fan of our hometown professional teams this past month, it is equally as fun to be a participant in a sport. And while only a select few will become professional athletes, there is no reason our children cannot start participating in a lifetime sport at an appropriate age or be introduced to a lifetime sport that could potentially be a passion for life.
So, how do we get our kids involved in lifetime sports for fun? What is the best way to transition from being a fan to being a participant, and not just for today, but forever?
Getting kids involved in lifetime sports for fun should be a natural process. However, not all kids are inclined to participate in sports for a plethora of reasons. First, your son or daughter may not be comfortable with his or her novice skills or an introduction to a new sport. Second, he or she might be intimidated by participating in team sports with an over-crowded field and an over-zealous coach. Additionally, they might be uncomfortable competing alongside their peers if they are reticent about sports to begin with and feel they cannot keep up.
Luckily, there are enough individualized sports available for kids to choose from and participate in so they can not only become an athlete at their own pace but they can also feel good about accomplishing individual goals on their own. Try some of these potential life-time sports your child can participate in individually:
A personal favorite, tennis requires very little equipment and is accessible to everyone at public playgrounds and parks. It is a life sport that your son or daughter can learn as a child and play for the rest of her life. Grab a racquet, a can of balls, and a good pair of tennis shoes before hitting the court.
Another life-sport, golf can be played at public courses with tee times being made in advance. As your child is just starting, look for a local chip-n-putt course that is manageable or start them off on a driving range. A starter set of clubs will be needed including a driver and a putter.
There is no better exercise than swimming laps or treading water in a pool, but it is highly recommended to take lessons first if your child is just getting comfortable in the water. The best part? Swimming does not have to stop in the winter as there are indoor facilities where your son can hone his skills all year round, and he can continue swimming for exercise as an adult
Spritely kids with tons of energy might enjoy tumbling around the mats, learning the fine skills of the balance beam, or flying high on the parallel bars as they become more mature and confident with this sport. The added benefit is the various events offered within the gymnastics circuit or to enhance cheerleading skills.
The sport of fencing has been around since the 18th Century and each year becomes more popular among young children. The recommended ages to start fencing is between 7 to 11-years-old, and if they take to the sport, they can continue competing long into adulthood. Participants will be tested physically with the movements required for fencing.
There are plenty of opportunities to have your children participate in martial arts, and the benefits are tremendous on many levels: discipline, self-control, focus, strength, stamina, and confidence. Children accelerate at their own pace and can utilize these benefits in all facets of their lives.
Following in the footsteps of martial arts, wrestling also works toward the same skills of discipline, determination, and self-control, to name a few. Often misrepresented, safety and non-violence are promoted and emphasized within the culture of wrestling.
Be patient with your children as they may have to “try out” several of these enticing sports before settling on the one best suited for them. Also remember to support their choice even if it is new to you; when a child makes a selection, it is because they feel, at that moment, the choice is the correct one for them. Do, however, offer some guidance toward a sport where they will find success.
Make it a fun for the whole family while getting your kids involved in lifetime sports as ultimately you will all be involved to some degree. And do not forget to keep cheering them on!