Thursday, June 05, 2008

Pay attention to your kids & sport.

Scott touched on this subject a long time ago and a real time example just brought it back to me the other day. The idea of kids learning sport is to provide them with a foundation of skills with which they can a) become competent at said sport (through movement patterns) and b) understand how to transfer those movement patterns to other sports and c) experience many of life’s lessons [winning / losing / responsibility / roles / team work / communication etc] in a relatively controlled environment.

Prior to enrolling your child in a sport there are a couple of very important things to think about

1. are they interested in this sport. by the ages of 7-11, your child will have likely participated in lower levels of organized sports. If they have and indicate an interest in continuing, this is a natural progression. If they are not interested and are playing because you’ve told them to, chances are – they will not get that much out of the experience.

2. are you interested in participating in their development. The misnomer is that through 1 practice and 1 game / week – your child should be able to pick up the skills and master the concepts of a sport. They don’t and they won’t. You should decide whether you will make the time to practice with them in addition to their coached time.

3. are you both committed (for said period of time) to make the team needs a priority over your individual wants eg: showing up when it’s raining, attending practice when you are ‘tired’ etc. The lesson here extends beyond winning and losing the games into the core fabric of responsibilities in life. It’s actually not all about “me”.

As a coach, it’s fantastic to see those who are interested, engaged and on task a high percent of the time. America’s past time is going to continue to become a more challenging sport to manage at lower levels because of the fact it doesn’t provide the instant gratification factor that dominates our children’s cortex on a daily basis.

What is frustrating is having to entertain disinterested children, facilitating on one end and overbearing on the other – parents and the reality that for most – organized sports has become more of a babysitting service than an opportunity to model life skill behavior.

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