Now a day’s kids don’t want to play a sport that they’ve been involved in before, and in many cases are successful. Excuses can range from “I’m afraid I won’t do well,” to “I’d rather have more free time to myself.
What should parents do?
In this case, one of the parents is a friend and the other is scribing this blog.
The child worried about his ability was the most improved player on his team last year and doesn’t have any other winter sports plans. The other child thinks the alternative to one additional practice a week is going to be hours in front of the tv playing video games.
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My suggestion to my friend was to either make his son play or tell him he needs to pick another activity, so he has something to do other than just go to school, come home, and play on electronics.
In my own son’s case, I decided to make him attend the evaluations, but with the understanding that if he didn’t like it, he could just play on his other team. (A side note: I only encouraged him to play on the second team, so he would face better competition than his first team affords and knowing the game and practice schedules would not conflict.)
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Active kids are healthy kids, who usually manage their time better when forced to do so. My eldest son’s best marking periods academically in high school were the two that overlapped basketball season. He had to figure out how to get his homework done and study for tests in between practices and games.
My friend’s son is not playing an organized sport, but instead is going to have some consistent personal training and pick-up type opportunities that will keep him busy at least two days a week.
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My son’s reaction after the evaluations: “Wow! That was so much fun. I can’t wait for the season to begin.”
Forcing a child to play a sport isn’t always the answer. But what the answer can be is: “You have to be involved in something, so we need to figure out what that will be.” There are plenty of activities available in schools and the community, and they don’t have to involve sports.
What is important is keeping kids active and engaged, because that helps them stay healthy – mentally, socially and physically.
Jon Buzby has been involved in and writing about youth sports for the past 30 years with perspectives as a parent, coach and board member. Jon is an award-winning writer and his latest book, “Coaching Kids Made Easier,” is available on Amazon. Send comments or future blog topics you'd like to see to JonBuzby@hotmail.com and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter