Let children choose their own sports

  • Aug. 15, 2012 4:21 p.m.

Over the last couple of months I have been to several sports camps for the youth in our region and it was wonderful to see these kids running around, playing the sport and learning from coaches or older players.

The common thread in all of these camps was the commitment from the coaches/instructors to make the learning fun and for the young students to leave at the end of the day with some new skill under their belt.

Once they do leave these camps the athletes are eager to try those newly acquired skills under real game conditions and this is where the parents of the child come into play in my opinion.

Little Johnny or Jane may be involved in the sport simply because mom and/or dad played the same sport growing up and that is generally how it works in this world.

If the child is exposed to a specific sport, there is a better than average chance they’ll have an interest in being a part of that sport growing up.

Here’s the thing though, too many times there are kids being put into a sport because mom and dad want them to.

When this occurs, more times than not it ends in disaster with the child not liking the sport or the parents getting bent out of shape because their offspring simply isn’t all that good at the sport.

Unfortunately, when it comes to measuring a child’s sports ability some parents look at success as the only outcome to be considered and that is just too narrow a path to follow.

We adults play our sports for a variety of reasons including getting into shape, staying in shape or maybe just a love of the competition against others.

Young children basically play sport for one reason and that is for fun.

When we as adults start placing some pressure on a child to become very good at the sport at an early age it most certainly removes some if not all of the fun factor for the child and in my eyes that is a bad thing.

Now I am not saying we as a society should stop trying to develop good athletes but when it comes to those first few steps into the sport of choice the old adage of learning to walk before learning to run might apply.