Why should your kid be in a sport? There are so many things going on in today’s world that more and more kids are choosing things other than sports. We already know that there are plenty of studies out there talking about how out of shape many kids are. The NFL started its Play 60 movement to get kids out of the house and getting some exercise.
Well, guess what? All these people who are worried about our kids are correct. Here is the Fastpitch Prep version of why your kids should play!
1. Academic performance improves in kids who are involved in sports compared to kids who do not participate. Many factors contribute to this gain but you can look at goal setting, priorities, time management and motivation as all simple skills that athletes learn that impact academic performance.
2. Athletes often have higher self-esteem than kids who do not participate in sports. Young athletes are learning new skills and overcoming challenges. Every time they learn something new they feel good about it. If you feel good about accomplishing a new skill you are more likely to look for the next challenge.
3. Sports allow kids to make more and different friends. There is a social aspect to all sports. Certainly team sports like fastpitch softball gives an athlete an opportunity to make friends within the team but also with other teams. Individual sports still allow friendships to be created with people you train with as well as people you compete with.
4. Learning how to handle failure and disappointment. Life is a challenging thing. Sports allow for kids to learn the coping skills that life requires in a fairly low-impact area. If you lose a game or make an error you have an opportunity to learn coping skills that will help you for the rest of your life. Getting cut from a team is painful, but again teaches life skills that will make a successful person.
Yes, your kids should play sports! Now before you jump for joy. Parents you have a role in this too! Parents, be sure you:
1. Talk to your kids often about enjoying the sport for the sake of playing, not just winning or losing!
2. Encourage and model good sportsmanship! The lessons come in losing just as much as winning.
3. Encourage persistence. Help them see that a set back isn’t permanent. if they fail they get to learn!
4. Pat them on the back for the skills they are learning and gains they are making. Again even if they don’t always lead to winning in the short term. Every time they learn, they win!
5. Help them learn to organize their time and prioritize the important things first. Clearly, school work should come before sports. They have time for both but need to do the more important things first. You need to teach them how.
6. Let them be kids! Winning is fun but not at the cost of enjoying the sport for the sport itself. Fun is first for the beginning player.
Get your kids in the game! Of course, we think they should play fastpitch, but all sports are good for the kids!
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.