Could your child be a future Olympic track athlete? Does she have the potential to be a wonderful tennis player or a basketball star in college?
When your children are small, it’s hard to know which sports might be the best fit for them. Your six-year-old may be tall and slim with lots of energy and a short attention span. All his friends are going to play soccer. Should you sign him up, too?
What’s the best way to encourage and support your child’s growing curiosity in sports?
Focus on your child’s interest
The most important question is this: what sport is your son or daughter interested in? Ask, listen, and be open to surprising answers.
Try not to ask it as a leading question. Many kids are eager to please and may try to think of an answer that they think you want to hear. If they know that Dad loves swimming, and has always wished he had tried out for the team, they may answer “swimming” automatically. How do you get around this? Ask them, “OK, what would be your second favorite? And your third?”
If your child is shy, context clues might be another way to gather information. Pay attention to the sports they watch on TV or athletes they admire. Have they ever talked about a sport through a friend? For example, “Timmy is playing baseball now and he says it’s pretty cool.”
Sometimes just having various sports equipment on hand is enough to engage your child. They may just surprise you and ask if you want to play catch or teach them how to dribble a basketball. If your child is partial to baseball for example, show your support for their new hobby and go online and purchase a baseball bat, glove, and baseballs from on online sports retailer. When the equipment arrives, the two of you can practice skills together.
Focus on your child’s strengths
If your child is calm, steady, and good at focusing, he or she might succeed at golf or archery. Does he or she have great balance and a streak of fearlessness? Then gymnastics or figure skating might be perfect. Whatever the case, know your child’s innate abilities and start brainstorming.
Focus on your child’s personality
While, you should take your child’s size and natural abilities such as speed, coordination, and agility when trying to guide them towards one sport or another, don’t forget about his personality. A child with a strong sense of independence may be happiest doing an individual sport, like tennis. They may find that the collaborative, intensely social world of team sports is just not in his or her nature.
Focus on fun
Children’s sports are a wonderful way to establish good habits for a lifetime of being physically active. Let your child take the lead in choosing their sport and level of involvement and be open to your child’s suggestions. Once they have picked their sport of choice, go online to a specialty sports store and ask a representative what equipment and apparel would be best to start with. Not only do they typically have the brands you want, but they can offer assistance in getting the perfect equipment that fits your child.
Jessica Elliott is a writer for SteelLocker Sports, a team sporting good online retailer headquartered in Austin, TX. SteelLocker Sports carries high quality merchandise and equipment for many sports including baseball, softball, football, basketball, and soccer for athletes of all ages. Visit www.SteelLockerSports.com to see this season’s best deals for you and your family.