My husband and I played variety of sports in our youth. My husband is very athletic and competitive, we have boxes of trophies and newspaper articles in storage from his childhood of sports. I was the kid that wanted to play my first sport for fun and spend time with friends. I did have some athletic ability but not the discipline to train and master a sport. We signed up our almost five-year-old for soccer, since he was starting to show increased interest in sports. Our first sport season proved one thing, our son is more like me!
We had three simple goals for this beginner sport season. First, we wanted to see if he wanted to learn more about the game of soccer. Second, to gain experience with teamwork and following directions from a coach. Lastly, have fun and enjoy spending time with his teammates.
It was about half way through the season when we realized that our son was not interested in the game of soccer. My son preferred to socialize and goof off with his teammates, rather than listen in practice or participate in the game. He did not like the physical part of going after the ball and being in the mix of the group that included some light pushing and elbowing. He was starting to become focused on collecting dandelions when he had the chance.
As a family, we wanted the fun experience and the exposure to a new sport. We ended up on a team that was about half and half. Half the kids were just trying a new sport and the other half was clearly going to be future soccer players. One experience we had was another parent yell out from the sideline to my son to pay attention when he was playing goalie, even though the ball was not near the goal. I understand competitiveness, but this is a team of four-year-olds. It is unnecessary for anyone but a coach or a child’s parent to redirect them. Luckily our son did not seem to notice the comment.
In order to motivate our son to make it through the rest of season, we discovered his love for water balloons helped him to focus and participate with his team. Of course, at soccer, all he talked about was the water balloons. Overall, we learned that maybe we need to wait for our next sport season. We look forward to any sport or activity our children find a passion to follow.
Beginner sports are a great way for kids be active, gain experience with not only sport skills, but teamwork and following directions. There are several great league options available. My son is not about to be the star of the team. That is okay. It is just one activity that we can say we tried and move forward.