Find Your Child’s Inner Sport

By Michele Robert Poche

“Sports teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and to lose ñ it teaches you about life.”– Billie Jean King

How’s his balance? How’s her hand-eye coordination? Does he like to finish things quickly? Can she stay focused during lengthier activities? Does he prefer to fly solo or does she soar highest when part of a team? The answers to these questions are not only important to your pediatrician, they’re also great indicators in determining the best sport for your child.

How can you help your kids find their inner sport?

Expose her to as many forms as possible. Yes, television and computers are the easiest way, but bringing her to live events will produce a more salient response. It can be anything from a college softball game to a community volleyball league. She needs to see the players in action so you can gauge her understanding and enthusiasm at different events.

Match the activity to his body type. Taller children often gravitate to basketball, children with more physical bulk are inclined to play football, and those with leaner physiques frequently excel at track. Of course, these suggestions are not inflexible, but they can generally help determine a child’s level of success and proficiency in various athletic disciplines.

Determine whether she wants to compete individually (swimming, tennis, etc.) or as a team (soccer, cheer, etc.). Sometimes this answer can be obtained simply by asking your child. However, when she is unsure, you can derive your conclusions from observations made from exposure as well as discussions with her teachers, especially those of physical education.

Work with him independently. Together, you can develop his skills in areas like throwing, catching, kicking, hitting, running, dodging, etc. You’ll not only spend some quality unplugged time with your child, you’ll also be able to identify his strengths and weaknesses firsthand to determine what you need to work on and where he might best be suited athletically.

In any event, know that there is a sport for everyone. It could be anything from pitching for the school baseball team to playing Frisbee with the dog. The important thing is finding the activity that best builds self-confidence and coordination, releases stress and provides a fun, relaxing outlet of exercise for your child. 

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