The hot summer weather will soon give way to crisp fall air and when it does, you plan for your child to be playing a youth sport for the first time.
There’s only one problem: They don’t want to play.
Your child doesn’t want to play soccer or lacrosse or try karate, either. They would rather use the racket you bought to try to hit tennis balls over the house. The lacrosse stick you purchased is only used as a toy to scoop debris out of the street gutters when it rains. And the baseball bat you bought him the day he was born is swung only at lightning bugs at dusk.
Your first-born loves watching the NFL … but has no interest in the pigskin sitting in the garage.
Should you make your child play?
I think it’s very important for kids to be given opportunities to try different activities and sometimes that means forcing them to give it a shot. I’m not a proponent of making a child play a sport, season after season, if they don’t want to, but I am OK with insisting they try it at least once.
In addition to developing motor skills and enhancing physical fitness and self-esteem, playing on youth sports teams builds social skills, often among a new and different group of friends. Kids need to learn how to get along with children from every background and with different levels of abilities and varying attitudes. Sometimes they can’t get that experience anywhere else.
It does not have to be the sport you always dreamed they’d play. One suggestion is to tell your child that you want them involved in some sort of sports activity this fall, but they can pick it. Nowadays, you can play just about any sport in the fall.
Flag football is one of the best sports for kids to see immediate success. So, if you are worried about your child not being able to keep up with the other kids, flag football might be a good sport to try.
At the younger ages, if you can follow a pack of kids to the person carrying the ball and pull a flag once or twice, you’ll feel successful. On offense, every kid usually gets to carry the ball and if they pick up a few yards, that’s what they’ll remember from the game. That, and of course, what was served as the postgame snack.
Not every kid is destined to play youth sports, but if possible, every child should give one a try.
Jon Buzby has been involved in and writing about youth sports for the past 30 years with perspectives as a parent, coach and board member. Jon is an award-winning writer and his latest book, “Coaching Kids Made Easier,” is available on Amazon. Send comments or future blog topics you’d like to see to JonBuzby@hotmail.com and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.