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.
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. ?