|Big Garea Fan wrote:
Hi Andy - welcome to the board.Thanks for your opinion, it's very detailed
I agree with you that sports can be important for the physical well being for a child. I also believe that sports are a good way to teach children about life lessons such as teamwork, grit (picking yourself up after you fail), work ethic, and sportsmanship. Sports are also a good incentive/reward for kids to improve their academics (if you fail academic classes, you are removed from the football team until your grades improve).
With the above said, I have some caveats...
1) The sport must be something that the child wants to play - not enrolled in just because the parent wants the kid to play it. Also the level of competition should be what the kid wants, not the parent. For example, some kids want to play baseball but they don't want to commit to travel team baseball since it is a huge time commitment and would take up nearly every weekend of the summer as the team travels all over the place (and stays overnight) to play tournaments that last the entire weekend.
At my house, we have the "one month trial rule". I talk with my kid about playing a certain sport or a certain activity (such as guitar lessons). Even if he expresses no interest or objects, I am still allowed to sign him up for a month (unless it is a team sport with a season longer than a month). If he doesn't like it after a month, I will withdraw him from the sport/activity. So far, these trial runs have resulted in my kid enjoying sports/activities such as karate, guitar lessons, tennis, etc, that he initially balked at while showing me that some sports such as basketball (and other team sports) are not his thing since he doesn't like the pressure of possibly leaving his team down. My kid likes playing sports but he doesn't like the win/loss part of it since he just wants everybody to play and doesn't want anybody feeling bad as a result. He is the type of kid who will intentionally pass the ball to the worst kid on the team so the other kid gets a chance to actually play. Whether the other kid drops the pass or not, my kid will always offer encouragement.
2) I am allowed to sign me child up for any sport/activity if I deem it to be important for his development. For example, my kid was signed up for swim lessons whether he liked it or not because I wanted him to learn to swim and be comfortable in the water. It could prevent him from drowning and save his life someday. CPR and first aid classes were also mandates from me since the knowledge he learned could save his life or the lives of others. I take the CPR/first aid classes with him so I can be his partner on activities and also so I know what was taught so I can review the learning with him later.
3) The sport should be safe for a kid. Given the recent findings about concussions and CTE, I would be hesitant to sign my kid up for football if he was interested in playing it.
4) I have to agree with the coach's / teacher's philosophy. Before I discuss a new sport/activity with my kid, I will go watch a few classes alone first so I can see how the coach/teacher interacts with his students and see what type of things are being taught. If I like what I see, then I will talk to my kid about signing up. I spent a couple months of Saturdays watching karate classes at various schools before I decided on one for my kid to enroll in. Fortunately, I think I made the right choice since my kid has been in karate for nearly 5 years now and is eager for each class.
5) The coach must be knowledgeable of proper form and prevention of injury. For example, if my kid is the pitcher on the baseball team, I want the coach to teach him the proper way to throw a curveball to reduce the risk of injury to the shoulder/arm. This is especially important for contact sports such as karate and boxing where poor technique can result in injury to self or others. This can be difficult since a lot of sports teams rely upon parent volunteers to serve as coaches. No qualifications (except maybe a clean background check) are required.
6) I worry sometimes that I am not signing my kid up for enough activities and that he may develop an interest in a sport later that he hasn't been prepared for. For example, what if my kid is a freshman in high school and decides he wants to try out for the school's wrestling team? My kid has never wrestled before and he would be trying out and competing against kids who have been wrestling at the local YMCA since the age of 4. What if my kid has the natural talent to be the next Tom Brady but I never signed him up for football?
While I think that sports can be important, I believe that the NCAA should be abolished. I don't think that kids should get college scholarships based upon their athletic performance. To me, colleges are places of academic training and scholarships should be based upon academic performance only. Instead of the NCAA, I think that pro sports leagues should create their own developmental systems and that high school players can be recruited for these developmental systems upon graduation.