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Enrolling your child in team sports is a great way to help them get physically active. It also helps your child develop invaluable life skills, such as responsibility, leadership, and determination.
Finding the right fit for your child can be a process. While some kids naturally gravitate toward something, others bounce from sport to sport. If you’re struggling to find the right fit, here are some helpful tips for finding the right team sport for your child.
Take Their Preferences Into Consideration
The first consideration for choosing a team sport for your child is their preferences. If your child is showing an interest in a specific sport, explore your options. It’s not always feasible to enroll your child in the sport of their choice, but it’s worth considering.
If your child tends to bounce from interest to interest, set a timeframe for an incubation period to see if the enthusiasm lasts. If your child is still interested in the sport a month from now, it’s time to enroll.
Take a Multi-Sport Approach
There are a lot of studies that show the benefits of being a multi-sport athlete. Give your child a chance to explore various sports at the same time. Doing so can help them cross-train and develop transferable skills.
For example, dancing in their ballet shoes from Just For Kix will help them develop the agility and coordination to get around other players in their soccer cleats. Swimming lessons will help them improve the endurance needed to keep skating during hockey.
Taking a multi-sport approach also gives your child a chance to explore both team sports and individual sports, furthering the development of their life skills.
Look for Intro and Trial Sessions
Making a long-term financial commitment to a sport can be overwhelming, especially for parents who have fickle children. Fortunately, there are a lot of community groups and organizations that sponsor intro and trial sports sessions.
Do some research and reach out to your local recreation department to see if there are any upcoming events to explore. Check with local sports teams and organizations to see if they have offseason events to attract new players. These events are a great cost-effective way to try out a new sport.
Consider the Logistics
As much as we want our children to experience everything and get involved, it’s not always feasible logistically. Consider your family’s schedule, the commitment level required, practice times, game locations, etc.
Some sports require a higher level of commitment than others. Traveling to a 5 PM hockey practice half an hour from home might not be realistic for parents who work full time. Having multiple children in sports may cause other conflicts and limitations.
While there are usually ways to work around conflicts, such as carpooling with other parents, it’s ok to say no based on your personal needs and stress level.
Set Them Up for Success
Their body type shouldn’t limit your child. You’ll come across a lot of recommendations that suggest you choose a team sport based on your child’s build. However, doing so can create a negative self-image. It’s also worth noting that most sports teams can benefit from different body types in different positions.
That being said, encouraging your child to try a sport you feel they would excel at can set them up for success. If your child is lean and agile, encouraging them to try basketball or track could be a good fit. If your child is broad and sturdy, trying football or hockey could suit their strengths. However, it’s essential to take personal preference into account and let your child try things that don’t fit the body stereotypes.
Your child has lots of time to figure out what they love. Be open to trying some different team sports until they find one they are passionate about.
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.