06 Mar 3 Ways to Make Team Sports More Fun For Kids
The benefits of team sports for kids are as well known as they are far-reaching. Physical and health results aside, the skills and qualities a child learns through being part of a team working towards the same goal can shape their entire world outlook, imbuing them with a sense of sportsmanship, ethics and team-mentality for the rest of their lives and subsequent careers. For adults, these skills are clearly reward enough for their participation, but, without the benefit of hindsight, often our kids need a little more encouragement to get involved. If you’re a coach or a parent who is trying to get kids more excited about team sports, we’ve put together a few ideas that could really help you, from individual trophies (never underestimate the power of a shiny trophy with a child’s name on it) to assigning positions of responsibility, there are several ways in which you can inspire the passion for team sports from a very young age.
Make Every Child Important
One of the most common mistakes made by parents, teachers and coaches alike is to seek out special talent early in the process and place more importance on the performance of that child than the other more mediocre team members. While encouraging natural skill is an important part of being a coach or teacher, encouraging those who may find it more difficult is even more important. Don’t lose sight of the fact that team sports at a children’s level are mostly about building confidence and life skills–not just winning the competition. By rotating positions, making sure every child gets equal attention and making an effort not to show favouritism, more of the kids in your team will come away with a love of the sport.
Rotate Positions of Responsibility
As kids get older and competition becomes more serious, the role of captain is one that needs to be awarded based on skill and attitude, as a reward not only for talent but also for effort and commitment to the team. In younger kids, however, the roles of responsibility within a team should be rewarded on a game-by-game basis, in order to give each member a taste of what it is like to lead. Children don’t become leaders unless they have had the chance to practice, so it is more important to let them try out their skills than it is to choose one team member for the whole season.
Reward Effort As Well As Achievement
Many sports teams have end-of-season sports trophies that they award to the team member who showed the most skill. While acknowledging skill is an important part of a sport, so is acknowledging the individual efforts of other players who may not have the same natural talent, but who have put in a lot of hard work. Choosing a trophy to award each player for something unique that they bring to the game may take more effort, but watching the look of pride on the children’s faces as they accept their awards makes it all worthwhile.