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Kid’s Sports: Teen Perspective

by Louise | April 14th, 2011 | Teen Perspective

I was recently reminiscing about the sports I was involved in as a younger kid. I only realized how many there were after formally writing out the list: dance (tap and ballet), soccer, gymnastics, running, skiing, swimming, basketball, softball, and volleyball. It may sound like I was all over the place, or picky, as if couldn’t find the one sport I liked, but I actually participated and enjoyed each of these sports for anywhere from three to eight years; the shifts between sports simply came with age and opportunities to try other things.

I started with dance when I was just three. I remember just having to copy what the instructor did, and I thought that was fun for a while. When I was four, I picked up soccer. Of course, at that age, soccer would more appropriately be called “magnet ball,” because no matter how much our coach told us not to, our entire team (except maybe the goalie) would just run after the ball. Soccer is great for kids who enjoy team play, have lots of energy, and are not afraid of getting dirty.

I was a bit restless as a child, and got bored with ballet when the instructors started getting very picky about hand placement and foot extension; I switched to gymnastics when I was six. Many parents are nervous about letting their kids do gymnastics because of the potential for injury. I wish I could say that these concerns are exaggerated, but they really aren’t. Even with great instructors, mishaps can happen (as with any sport, really). At the end of third grade, I had trouble with a dismount off of the uneven bars and ended up fracturing my neck. However, being a kid, I was back to gymnastics after a couple months of healing, and continued until high school, when the competition aspect finally became too intense for me.

If your city’s parks department runs a league for them, soccer, basketball, and softball/baseball can be quite cheap for young kids (though club or travel teams can quickly cost hundreds more) and most middle schools and high schools support teams for them. Sports that involve more instruction, equipment, or special facilities, such as dance, swimming, skiing, or volleyball, can quickly add up to much higher costs, but are well worth it for some variation from “the standards.”

I realize now that I owe my parents a huge amount of thanks for letting my try so many different sports, taking me to and from practices, games, rehearsals, etc. Each sport taught me a new lesson about teamwork, competitiveness, self-confidence, endurance, and of course, general fitness. Letting kids try new sports until they find one, or many, that they love, is by far the easiest way to ensure that children will stay active and, more importantly, happy.

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