Being involved in sports as a kid can provide some of the best fun a child can have. But for some kids it can seem impossible to get them motivated, active and involved.
Often there are hidden reasons why your child may be avoiding sports, and as a parent it’s important to find out why, and make an effort to encourage your kids to participate in sport so they can enjoy the many benefits that playing sport has to offer such as…
- Improving fitness and reducing risk of disease
- Developing confidence and social skills
- Improving bone and muscle development
- Learning discipline, patience and tolerance
- Improving mood and overall happiness
- Better performance in the classroom
- Less likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Making new friends
So now let’s look at some of the main reasons why your child may not enjoy sport in the first place and offer simple tips to overcome these obstacles.
1. They Haven’t Developed Their Skills Yet
If your child is having trouble executing basic skills and isn’t really involved in the game or getting picked by the other kids to be on their team this can cause them to lose interest or feel they’re not good enough.
But this can all be overcome by practicing at home or in the park. As a parent you can make an effort to learn what sports the kids are playing at school or in the neighbourhood and dedicate time to practising skills required for that sport. Make it fun and offer your child incentives for hitting targets you set, such as catching a certain number of throws in a run or kicking the ball through the goals from various distances.
2. They Don’t Know The Rules
This issue is very similar to #1. Some kids grow up in households where certain sports are bred into them from an early age. If this is not the case in your household you’ll want to make an effort to get yourself up to speed on the popular sports in your kids school and neighbourhood and help them become better acquainted with the rules and objectives of the game.
The kids down the street are not likely to take time out of the game to explain the rules. So, you can help your child learn by watching games together and learning the rules yourself so you can teach your child whilst practising drills at home.
3. The Feel To Much Pressure To Perform
A very common reason why kids don’t want to play sport is because of too much pressure from teachers, parents and sometimes other kids to perform. Be sure that you don’t put too much pressure on your child to become the next Roger Federer when all they want to do is have fun and hit the tennis ball.
If you notice that the school sports team or even the local junior league teams are highly competitive you can start by sending your child to a school holiday sports camp where the focus is on skill development and fun more than competition and winning.
As your child gets older and improves their skills they may learn to love the competitive side of sport. Or maybe not, but at least they can still get active and meet friends by participating in a more casual setting.
4. Haven’t Found A Sport They Enjoy
Not every child will enjoy every sport and certain sports are better suited to kids with different types of personalities, physical build, temperament and levels of concentration.
If your child doesn’t enjoy the physicality and teamwork of rugby league maybe they’d be better suited to an individual sport such as tennis or visa-versa. This is why it’s important to try lots of different sports as a kid to find the one your child enjoys most. Australian Sports Camps offers great camps across Australia to trial different sports for 3 days.
5. Are Afraid To Fail Or Look Silly
Australian culture is very sports orientated and sometimes we can take it a little too seriously. When kids see this it can scare them into thinking that unless they win or are the best that they will be scorned or teased.
This is where you need to clearly communicate to your child that sports is first and foremost about having fun and getting active. Whether you win or lose is not important and as long as they try their best and enjoyed themselves then you’ll be proud of them.
If none of these scenarios seem to explain why your child doesn’t want to play sports, then there could be a more personal reason and it’s important that you take the time to have a caring open conversation to get the true reasons behind them not wanting to participate.
You might find that there’s a bully who’s giving your child a hard time, maybe they hurt themselves last time they played, or it could be that they are simply interested in other activities such as skateboarding or BMX.
Whatever the reason, let your child know you’ll support them in whatever they decide to do but make sure that they are getting enough exercise, have social activities outside of school where they can meet new friends, and have positive activities and goals to focus on and work towards.