Buzby: Less popular sport could be right fit for your child

jonbuzby@hotmail.comSeptember 14, 2013 

Many parents are baffled that their children don't want to participate with friends in the more popular youth sports like soccer and football. Or in some cases, parents realize their children are only going to experience frustration, embarrassment and a loss of self confidence if they do.

It's important not to forget that there are more sports than just the popular team ones. In fact, sometimes it's the less popular individual sports in which children who might not enjoy the traditional ones will shine.

Take swimming for example. For the most part it's an individual sport where, at a young age, the focus should be on improving individual stroke skills -- which will automatically improve personal times -- while developing an enjoyment for the activity. Unlike team sports, a poor showing in a swim race might cost a team points, but won't be as obvious having made a difference in the final score.

Karate is another popular sport for kids who aren't quite coordinated or confident enough to play certain team sports. I've heard stories about children who develop not just confidence and self-discipline in this individually focused activity, but also improve coordination and strength, which eventually leads to better all-around sports skills.

If your child has no interest in being part of a team and sharing the ball, but loves swinging a golf club in the backyard or tennis racket at the local park, give those sports a chance. Most good recreation departments offer lessons at a reasonable price, but if not, check the local country club.

The most important thing to remember when trying a sport for the first time is not to invest a lot of money or time into it, mainly because your child might lose interest after a few practice sessions.

Register for one session of an activity, not several. Even if it means you don't get a discount, you could be saving money in the long run if your child quits for the year at the holiday break.

Try to borrow or purchase used equipment. Yard sales and resale shops usually have decent tennis rackets and golf clubs for sale at reasonable prices.

Not every child wants to play sports. But sometimes as parents we forget to present the option of non-traditional ones for them to try.

Contact Jon Buzby at JonBuzby@hotmail.com and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.

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