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May 16

Exploring Sports With Your Children:

Exploring Sports With Your Children:
By Randy Clark
Everyone knows that children benefit physically from sports, but one of the
over-looked benefits of playing sports is the life lessons. Team-based and
individual sports can help kids develop a sense of confidence and improve their
self-esteem. And you can help. We set the tone for their experiences. Consider the
following when exploring sports with your children.

Be a role model and coach:

Parents and coaches can make or break a kid’s love of sports. Kids observe how we
demonstrate sportsmanship. Showing respect for the other team and officials,
focusing on how well the team played rather than wins or losses, and shaking hands
with the other team after the game are ways we can all help create a positive
environment. While it is a big responsibility, it is the ultimate opportunity to
bond with our kids.  But remember, these are kids.  The negative, yelling and
screaming coaching style will not prove effective with these young people.

Ask them which activities they’d like to try:

When you’re trying to find sports and activities for your kids, think about their
personalities and what they enjoy doing. Some may enjoy team sports like soccer,
while others prefer individual sports, like swimming.  Not every child will want to
play little league baseball or hockey, but with a bit of investigating and a lot of
patience, you can explore several options your kids may enjoy.

Enroll with a friend:

Then, they can look forward to participating together, and mom and dad can benefit
from ride-sharing, too.

Set some ground rules:

When you try a new sport, explain that it will be for the whole season. Ask them to
try their best and remind them at the end of the season, they don’t have to commit
to doing it again. Often, kids will really grow and even reluctant young athletes
can gain confidence as the season progresses.

Celebrate the successes:

As a life-long coach, my goal is simple, I always try to celebrate the successes, no
matter how little.  At a young age, it’s less about winning the game and more about
trying our best and being good sports out on the field. And, to help make sure all
kids feel a part of the team we always had a team cheer – win or lose – to

Explore other ways to be active together:

If organized sports aren’t for your child, remember family physical activities are
also a great opportunity. Going for walks together, taking a hike or a bike ride,
just going and spending time together is important.  It can be a great family
bonding opportunity.  The key is helping to create a sense of enjoyment and making
sure that being active is not something they feel like they “have” to do, but
instead want to do.
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