Sports can be a great way to keep your kids busy while building their confidence. And let’s not forget the health benefits that come along with them running around. But getting your kids to try a sport can be tricky, especially in the digital age. How do you introduce them to something new?
Most kids now are happy with linking with their friends online to play Madden or Fortnite, so it is up to us parents to expose them to things outside of technology. Let’s keep it real though, it’s not always easy, but you don’t have to go crazy or broke introducing them to new sports.
Find a sports camp
A really good and cheap way to introduce your kids to a new sport is via sports camps. They are easy to find, can run for a few days and some are very affordable — you’ll can even find ones that are free.
I got lucky and found a one-day football camp Hyundai motors hosts around the country with random NFL players. It was free but we had to travel 45 minutes to get there. It was well worth the trip as my son got to meet Evan Engram of the N.Y. Giants. They had 300 kids on the field learning at various stations.
There was no pressure to be the best. They only pressured them to have fun and make friends. My son took full advantage and even told me after the 3-hour camp that he wanted to play football this winter.
Remember, your kid is not you
Growing up, all I had were my friends and the sports we played because video games and even cable TV was meant for the rich in the 1980s, we were not there — LOL! Since all I sports were all I had, I was always hungry to be the best.
My son, not so much! He has everything he wants. He’s spoiled in that sense and isn’t always hungry to compete. Win or lose, he’s happy — definitely not me!
It took me a while to realize that pushing him to be as competitive as I was wasn’t the right way to get him playing various sports. He just didn’t care as much as I did and that’s OK.
Don’t be that dad that pushes your child to do what you do. Let them grow and support them when possible.
Easy on the tough love of new sports
Ohhhh, I am the worst at applying tough love. I believe in it so much that sometimes I take it to far. I’ll call my son names like “weak sauce” and even tease him when another kid does better than him.
What can I say? I’m not perfect but I do expect my child to try his hardest every chance he gets.
However, I have also learned that sometimes we dads overboard. We say things to our kids that destroy their confidence or hunger to play instead of encouraging them.
It happens and will probably continue to happen but we must also know when we take it too far. Remember you’re introducing them to something new, they will not be great right out of the box.
Just try to always remember that the decision to play a sport should be on your child, not you. If they decide to play, push them to be succeed but without being a dick! You never know, they might be down to continue with the sport or want to give it up. But at least you did your part introducing to something other than cheat codes on their PlayStations.