One Sport Doesn’t Fit All

Finding the sport that fits your child.

People of all ages need physical exercise, and this includes kids.

These days, kids can become so distracted by video games, computer games, and television shows that they forget about sports. This is an unhealthy habit that often begins very early and can lead to childhood obesity and other health problems later in life. Therefore, it’s important to encourage your children to get involved in some sort of physical activity. And don’t think that kids who aren’t gifted athletically or aren’t competitive get off the hook. Most healthy children fall into one of four categories when it comes to playing sports, and it’s your responsibility to help them make the most of their abilities and opportunities.

What kind of activities can your children get involved in? It depends. Are they…

…Athletic and Competitive

Kids in this first category are naturally athletic. They have good coordination and motor skills, are stronger or more muscular than average, usually enjoy rough play and don’t worry about getting hurt, and they love a good game and love to win. These are the children who amaze people with their talents even at a young age. Think of the child who is able to stand on his or her head for minutes on end, throw the ball in the basket, or catch a fly ball. These children are most often boys and frequently come from athletic families, but great athletes are females from families with no notable athletic prowess.

The best sports for these types of children are team sports that require good coordination skills and full-body movements. These include basketball, soccer, hockey, and lacrosse. Sports like baseball may move too slowly for this type of child.

Non-Aggressive Athletic

Children who are athletically gifted but are shy or hesitant to compete fall into this category. They may be team players and skilled at running, back-flips, or throwing a ball, but don’t have the daredevil personality like those in the first category.

Kids in this category would most benefit from team sports in a recreational setting. Find teams that focus on teamwork and skill development rather than on competition. Church teams or YMCA teams may be a good option. Sports for these children may include baseball, soccer, track, swimming, or gymnastics.

…Not So Sporty

While all parents think their kids are wonderful in every way, it’s important to recognize that some children have very little natural athletic talent. These children may still love to play sports, but they may not be very good at them and over time may grow frustrated and lose interest. However, it’s important to remember that if your children fall into this category, you should still encourage physical activity. Be sure to give additional time for your kids to develop skills at their own pace, and celebrate the small victories. Good ways to grow these kids’ skills include one-on-one lessons or classes with a non-threatening teacher or coach, or participation in church or YMCA teams. Kids of all ages and skill levels benefit from swim lessons, dance or tumbling classes, martial arts, or climbing lessons. By involving your kids in these non-traditional athletics, you may find the sport that fits your children perfectly.

…Sedentary or Over-Weight

For health reasons or for unhealthy reasons, some children fall into this category. This type of child is physically unable to exercise because of a handicap or disability. It also includes children who are obese because of a sedentary, unhealthy lifestyle. While these children may love the idea of sports and competition, they are unable because of their weight and insecurities. It is important for parents of overweight children to encourage regular physical activity such as walking, riding bikes, swimming, or hiking. As these children begin to obtain a healthier weight, they’ll be more prepared to get involved in the sport of their choice.

Find the Fit

While these guidelines will help find a sport to fit your child, the most important factor is finding a sport that your child enjoys. Sometimes this requires exposing children to several sports until they find what suites them best. And remember that what may be the right sport for dad or mom may not be the right one for the child.

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