Kids sports . . . ah, the proverbial soccer mom role.
We’re almost done with our sports season for this spring. We’ve had four kids in sports and that has meant at least two practices or games every day for about eight weeks, very often at the same time but different locations. It’s a bit insane. So why do it?
What Is The Value of Sports?
First of all the education of the body is an important part of overall education. Gaining coordination, endurance, strength and balance are definite bonuses of sport.
In addition kids learn to play on a team, learn competitive skills and how to lose and win graciously. They learn to give it their best and to work for the benefit of others as well as themselves.
Sports give kids confidence in themselves. They are more able to look another person in the eye as an equal. Someone who learns to be aggressive and assertive on the playing field will not be easily pushed around by the bullies of adult life either.
Sports give kids an outlet for all their bounteous energy. Many kids have a better attention span and better eating and sleeping habits when they’re working hard.
Kids who do sports learn exercise habits that will serve them well throughout life.
Besides organized community or school sports there are things you should do at home to model active play. Go on walks, hikes, runs, or bike rides together as a family. Attend sporting events or watch it on TV to keep your kids interested and to help them learn to play their favorite games better. Take them out in the back yard or to a park and teach them to do some basic actions, like throwing a ball.
To adults, throwing or kicking a ball, sliding into home plate, or shooting a basket may seem obvious and simple, but to a child just learning it’s not. Some kids just seem to pick it up like some kids just “get” phonics, but that’s not true of most kids.
Stop and think through the motions slowly to yourself. What position is your arm in when you are ready to throw? Where does it move next and how does it look when you are finished? What are your feet and hips doing during the throw? Do this for any sport or action you and your child are involved in. Be patient and positive. They won’t get it the first time any more than they had perfect handwriting after the first time they wrote their letters. Repeated actions over time create habits. your job is to help them make sure the repeated action is the correct one.
When kids get older if they’re not involved in organized sports have them keep an exercise diary. Require them to do around three hours of exercise each week. Give rewards for each completed week to keep them going. It would probably be best if the reward weren’t food. Maybe money, a full gas tank, or an outing of some kind.
The bottom line is that no education is adequate without sport. Parents, who have the advantage of a smaller class size and the opportunity to create a whole lifestyle that includes sport, are the best teachers.