According to the latest study by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, around 21 million children play some form of organised sport. There seems to be a team for everybody out there, no matter whether it’s baseball, soccer or even table tennis.
But what if your child doesn’t like sports? Then what?
Most people think that there are significant benefits from getting kids involved in sports. For starters, there are the physical, emotional and psychological benefits that playing in team sports bring. Being a part of something else, working with other people your own age and being physically active are all essential elements of a successful upbringing. But if kids aren’t interested in sports, then they miss out on all of this stuff. That has left many parents scratching their heads, wondering what they can do with a child who “hates” sport.
Don’t Keep Pushing Sports At An Early Age
Curt Hinson is a kinesiologist and a dad, and he coaches other parents on how to get their kids into sports. He’s observed that many parents try to introduce their children to new sports at a young age. Parents think that by doing this, they’re giving their kids the opportunity to try out different things and potentially narrow down their sports interest to one or two disciplines. But Hinson has noticed that this process can sometimes go horribly wrong. Very young children often don’t understand the purpose of sport, why it’s being played or even what they’re supposed to do. Often, they’re more interested in doing something else, like playing with toys or just running around and exploring the park.
When parents try to direct their children to play in a sport with their peers, the children often rebel. Hinson points out that this can be counter-productive, especially at an early age when it can lead to trauma and really cement the idea in the child’s head that they hate sport. His advice to parents is to back off and stop trying to force the issue. Often introducing sport less formally, like going out and throwing and catching a ball in the park, can do more to get kids interested than actively pushing them to get involved.
Sign Them Up For Alternative Sports
Hinson knows that the saying, “there’s an athlete inside us all” is a little corny, but he also thinks that it’s probably true. Too often children are exposed to sports that they don’t like when they’re young so that once they hit their teenage years, they’ve been turned off sports entirely. Hinson recommends that parents try to get their children involved in alternative sports that they might not have tried yet. As this website demonstrates, there are plenty of rewards on offer for alternative sports like canoeing.
Many of these alternative sports are fundamentally less aggressive and combative than traditional invasion team sports, like football. As a result, they may appeal to children who have been put off by this aspect of sport. In fact, canoeing doesn’t even have to be sold as a sport – it can be recast as an activity, as can many other independent sports, like cycling.