Finding The
Right Sport

Our kids are totally unique. In fact, it's quite amazing how different they can be from their parents. Take for example, the athletic, sports loving parent with the seemingly (or decidedly) non-athletic child. Just as with any other difference in traits and tendencies, this can come as a surprise. Whether you call it pleasant surprise or something else is a matter of choice. But for the parent who dreamed of playing catch with their child, the child who can't catch a ball in a baseball glove from a foot away, no matter how much coaching and how much the child may want it, it can be perplexing.

Child-in-baseball-helmet

Hopefully, though, not disappointing - because in differences there are also opportunities. Like we grew into our interests and traits, so, too, will our children. It's great fun watching this happen! Your child may not be athletic in a "traditional" way, but that doesn't mean they can't enjoy sports and physical acitvities. Maybe they (and you) haven't found the right one yet.

Different body types

Everybody and every body is different. Different body types are better for different sports. You child may not excel at your favorite sports, but that doesn't mean he or she can't find a sport that is right for them. Also, just because your child seems to have the body type for a mainstream sport doesn't mean he or she has to do it. Not all tall kids are into basketball; maybe water polo will be their thing. Or fencing?

Give it time

Some kids seem to have easy coordination from an early age while others need to grow into it. Lanky kids, for example, sometimes need to to become accustomed to their longer and longer limbs after each growth spurt. And smaller kids may need to work to adapt strides and reaches when they accept they just aren't going to be able to do things the exact same way as their differently-bodied teammates.

With all the changes in adolescence, even previously graceful kids can become a little clumsy with their changing bodies. It can be a frustrating time for some, and an equalizing time for others. When it all comes together, the kid who couldn't catch a ball in a baseball glove from a foot away may be the starting shortstop on the junior varsity high school team.

Fitness for life

More than a single sport, perhaps the emphasis for all kids, "athletic" and "non-athletic" alike, should be fitness for life. Even the most uncoordinated among us can find activities to keep physically healthy and strong. Sports and teams and natural ability is second to this, really.

One of the really fun things about parenting is seeing our kids grow into their own unique beings - and they have a way of doing this in spite of parental influence! Athletics and physical activeness are just one way kids grow into their own selves. ?

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Comments

Comments on "Athletic parents and non-athletic kids"

Bill January 20, 2011 | 6:07 PM

Why are sports always equated with physical fitness? The two are not synonymous. High levels of physical fitness can be achieved without participating in any sport. In fact, the most efficient way to get into shape is to get on an exercise program instead of learning how to play a sport. Have nonathletic boys been encouraged in mandatory sports-centered P.E. classes to become physically active? No, they learn to fear and hate P.E. instead and with good reason. They frequently are humiliated, ignored, and bullied; and, ironically enough, they hardly get any exercise! When genuine fitness classes are not provided for these kids, they are cheated and are actually discouraged from being physically active at all. For generations the culture associated with the most popular, but certainly not all, school sports has denigrated nonathletic boys. They are told that they are inferior ("wimps," "sissies," "fags," etc.); and even their ual preference is questioned, despite the fact that such negative stereotyping is apparently false. I suspect that many parents who either have athletic backgrounds or are rabid sports fans whose children happen to be nonathletic must view them with a measure of contempt.

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