The Positive Effects of Sports on your Child: (Is my child in the right sport?)
American Sport Psychologist Joel Fish said it best when he likened athletics to an arena wherein we as children have the opportunity to shape our “identity, self-esteem, and self-confidence” into the adults we are today. How many of us remember our very first race, dance, and volleyball or basketball game? Vividly I am sure! Experiences such as these in sports can be quite profound and lasting especially in situations wherein you interacted with your teammates (Where they nice to you?, Were you a leader?), coach (How was he/she as a mentor to you?, Was he/she supportive?), and even parents (Where they supportive of your involvement in sports?, Did they pressure you?). Has your personal experience impacted you as a parent? Have you tried to communicate any of these learning to your child/children? Each sport experience which you have undertaken is a unique one and certainly has played a big part in who you are today.
The importance of exposing your child (Ages 4-10) to as many sports as possible cannot be over emphasized. There are children who gravitate towards popular sports without any encouragement but there are also those kids who need to be constantly supported and encouraged. In encouraging your child to engage in sports, it is always important to remember two things how was your attitude towards sports at their age and to always keep an open mind. This is especially true for children between the ages of 4 to 7 as these children may still be unable to fully grasp the intricacies of why a ball must go through, over, or across a goal. At this age, the concept of fun is usually the most important thing. So as a parent, it is important to know what you want your child to achieve in their short time engaged in the sport. This could be in the areas of developing their visual-motor and spatial skills through learning how to balance themselves whenever they suddenly change direction, catching the ball, and determining the distance between themselves and others. Although there is a good chance that your child may not embrace the sport which you involved them in, remember that they are not you and that their participation in the sport is not a direct reflection of you as a parent.
Sports for as long as I can remember have been an integral and important part of my life. But it was only when I was twelve, wherein I really understood why I had to do it. The reasons were social such as peer pressure (all my friends were going to participate in a basketball tournament that summer and if I decided not to be involved, I would have been left out.) and being an obedient son. (My mom hardly asked anything from my sibling or I, so when she did ask, it was important that we listened.) Aside from having regular exercise, sports have assisted me in enjoying college statistics through associating it with basketball. It has also helped a number of my clients increase their self-confidence and self-esteem.
Is my child in the right sport?
To date, there is no literature which dictates one sport being more proficient than another. On that note, what determines the choice of a sport are interest, cost, and availability of the game. For example, basketball courts are rampant across the country and knowledge of how to play the sport is a national past time. Basketball would then be a logical alternative to say, lacrosse. Establishing a sport like lacrosse may take two generations and would need massive education, development, funding and so on.
* AS SEEN IN THE AUGUST 2005 ISSUE OF BABY MAGAZINE