In many communities it is a rite of passage to sign a child up for t-ball or soccer or Pop Warner football. Boys and girls are being exposed to sports, in some cases, before they can even read. According to the National Council for Youth Sports, 50 million kids play a sport. But not every child is cut out to be a youth athlete.
So what do you do if your child has no interest in team sports? For some parents this can cause concern that their child is going to miss out on an important part of growing up, or that they may be left out. How can you ensure that your child is a part of their community, even if they don’t want to play a sport? Here are a few ideas:
Expose your child to non team sports:
Perhaps your child would do better focusing on an individual activity. Sports such as tennis, gymnastics or golf may be their speed. Seek out other opportunities.
Encourage your child to cheer on others:
A child may be better at cheering on friends from the sidelines or managing a team. These are great options for kids who aren’t athletic or competitive but want to be with their pals.
Have them complete the season:
If they join a team and they don’t like it, strongly consider having your child stay until the end of the season. This shows follow through, as well as respect for team members and their coach. And who knows, they may have a break through at the end of the season and have a change of heart.
Support what they love:
If they aren’t an athlete, so what? Help them find their passion. They will be happier in the long run and have greater self esteem doing something they love and are good at.
It can be hard for sport inclined parents to realize their kids have no interest in sports. If a child isn’t interested in athletics, embrace it. Help them find an outlet that will make them happy and feel like a champion, even off the playing field.