The best answer I can give is that it’s a matter of opinion. It all depends on the goals of the parent as well as the child/adolescent. What are you looking to achieve? For some, organized sports is an excellent option. Studies have shown that organized sports improves kids’ health, helps them develop both self-confidence and social skills, and even improves one’s academic performance. However, what if your child/adolescent doesn’t like organized sports? In fact, what if they have a difficult time understanding the concepts and/or rules of organized sports? Or maybe the thought of having to be physically active is tiring unto itself. Ultimately, you end up in the all too familiar power struggle between you and your child. Have you been down this road?
So, organized sports didn’t work out and you’ve exhausted your other options via group karate, group swimming, group gymnastic classes, etc. Nothing seems to be working, your patience is wearing thin, and fighting is not the solution. Well, I have good news! Organized sports does not have to be the ONLY option. In fact, LESS STRUCTURED activities can be a great start for kids who dislike the organized approach or simply don’t fit its mold. With that in mind, have you ever considered a private youth fitness coach for your child/adolescent? Perhaps your child/adolescent needs a coach who can create sessions around fun activities that aren’t typical gym routines and who encourages input from your child. In other words, someone who can help your child find activities he or she enjoys and can do on their own. These activities your should be creative, imaginative, and engaging.
As a coach, my job is to be one part teacher, one part motivator, and another part role model. I want to leave an indelible mark in the mind and memory of your child. I want them to develop their own long-term love for physical activity. In order to help them develop this intrinsic value, I emphasize to my athletes that it’s always about continual improvement, NOT performance. Looking for the quick results without seeking small improvements one day at a time leads to hollow learning. It just doesn’t seem to stick. However, if you believe in the philosophy that small improvements one day at a time works, then, when it happens, you see that it will last a lifetime.
Here are a few things to consider:
1) How do I choose the right organized sport?
I want you to assume that team sports such as soccer, basketball, baseball, football, etc., are unlikely to be ideal choices if your child/adolescent has not had success with them in the past. By no means am I saying that they will never have success, but the approach to teaching these sports may not be best fit for how your child learns. In each of these sports, there is a high demand for physical fitness, social communication (as well as non-social cues), understanding complex rules (fouls, offsides, using hands vs. not using hands, offense vs. defense, who’s on my team, where should I run, or who can I pass the ball to?), and environmental factors such as lots of movement and loud noises.
2) What are my alternatives?
Try focusing your attention on individual activities where individual efforts are prized over team interaction. Things to consider when choosing the right fit are: What does your child enjoy? Is your child “high” energy or “low” energy? Does your child have good physical coordination and muscle tone? Does your child hate to lose? With that in mind, what about activities such as bowling, swimming, karate, hiking, rock climbing, and horseback riding?
3) Think outside the box to find the right activity and support for your child.
Finding a private coach that can provide the support, patience, and a safe environment may be a good start for your child/adolescent. You want someone who is able to encourage life-long habits by emphasizing learning rather than working. In other words, someone who can teach your child/adolescent to develop a fundamental love for physical activity. Lastly, the goal of any session with an individual athlete should be to teach that athlete how to learn to live in their body. I don’t look at my sessions with my athletes as working them out as much as teaching them how to move.
If you feel that my services would be a good fit for your child, please contact me via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can call me at (646) 279-2324.