If you are a parent or a coach, I believe it is critical that we have a good understanding of why kids play, and why they quit. It is also crucial that we have open lines of communication with our athletes, so we can spot some of the red flags and right the ship before it’s too late.
I believe there are five main reasons kids walk away from sports, and they all boil down to one common denominator: they cause kids to have a poor state of mind when it comes to sports. I hope you will look at each one of these scenarios and ask yourself, Is this my child? If the answer is yes, then it is never too late to act and make a change.
Plan your sessions in advance
It is helpful to introduce the sport slowly rather than just jumping into a game. For example, if you are teaching a child to play baseball, then you might want to start with learning the fundamentals of catching, hitting and pitching before you delve into all of the rules and regulations of the game. You should introduce the skills slowly and have short sessions where kids can practice fundamentals. Plan these sessions in advance so you know what activities you will be covering and what information you want to impart.
Give Him a Say
Assuming he’s tried out a few things over the last couple of years, your child has probably developed some preferences. Ask him what team he’d like to join, you may be surprised by his response. Parents often put their child in the same sports program that his friends are in, but that’s not always the best approach, If your son hates soccer, for instance, or isn’t good at it, he could feel like a failure, and may resist trying other sports.
Get the necessary equipment
While you don’t want to spend a ton of money on equipment until you are certain that your children will enjoy the sport, you do need to ensure that you have the basic equipment needed to participate in the sport. You can often buy used sporting equipment inexpensively online, in local classifieds or resale stores.
Focus on being a good winner and a good loser. Kids need to know that not everyone is going to be great at sports, and that they cannot win every game. It is important to teach kids how to be gracious whether they play well or play badly.