HELP! My kid doesn't like sports!
A lot of people grow up playing team sports. Some of us were pretty good at them and
genuinely enjoyed it. Others were forced to play because it builds character, or the neighbors were doing it, or because one of your folks played and you're following in their footsteps. For whatever reason, you were on a team. There you were: Hitting a ball, shooting a basket, tackling people. So what happens when you grow up and you’re now a parent and are trying to navigate the world of team sports and activity for your kid?
I want take you down memory lane with me to my first sport… soccer. Now I’m a huge soccer fan now but back when I was 5, I was more interested in the planes flying overhead than the ball being kicked around. That was my one and only season. Next was softball in 7th grade, it was OKAY. I liked throwing things and I could throw pretty good. But I didn’t like batting or running the bases... or all the people. Considering that, it was an important part of the sport; I didn’t keep it up. Next came, tennis. I played that in high school for 3 years. I was not a huge fan of tennis but at least I played either by myself or with one other person. That was my saving grace as I needed a sport for applying for college back when being well-rounded meant a sport should be somewhere on there. I tell you all of this to say I am not a team sports person. So what did my parents do with this?!?
I was fortunate that I was not pushed toward a sport in any way. My parents were willing to let me try what I thought I might like and be okay when I said, “After this season, I’m done.” Without that, I think I would have be
en more miserable trying to please them and that just does not sound like a good plan.
So what do you do? The simple answer is to talk to your kid and try not to push one way or another. I know it’s hard. Passion about something leads to excitement and excitement is usually talking fast, talking it up, and kids are good at picking up on what someone wants them to say. “Don’t you want to play basketball?” *They want me to play. I know they want me to.* “Yeah, basketball is good!” As time goes on, they could keep playing, but a lot of times they end up getting burned out and stop being active all around. An activity that is not your think (or maybe totally new to you) is better than no activity.
Another way is to think about other activities and offer trial periods for the ones that seem interesting. Maybe martial arts, weight training, Crossfit, or maybe they want to do Live Action Role Play.
I think back to myself and know that my activity level as a kid was less because I didn't have my THING yet. I wish I had found weight training when I was younger. I wouldn’t have had to wear that tennis dress or pretend to like the bus rides to away games.
Jump forward to today, I found the amazingness of strength training. It works so well with my personality and it may with a lot of kids too. The best way to describe what I love about it is: Whether I lift the weight on the bar or not… it’s my fault. It is me and no one else. I always say that I wish I knew about it earlier. Maybe your kid is going to be one to pick things up and put them down like I am. They could try it (I strongly suggest with a coach especially for kids) and love it. They could try it and not love it. That’s the beauty of these journeys and being open to kids trying new things… they could find their “thing” earlier and have more time to love it.
The long and short of it is… everyone will be okay. Team sports are not the end all be all. Sometimes we feel that way but in all actuality, there are ways to be active without it being a team sport. Try new things; jump in and it could be an experience that lasts a moment or the start on a whole new journey for you and your kid.