As your kids transition back to school you may be considering signing your child up for an after-school sport. There are leagues for all age ranges and skill levels so there are loads of opportunities, no matter which sport you choose. It can be a great experience for your child to learn about teamwork and discipline while also staying fit.
But there’s a lot to think about before you sign on the dotted line.
1. Is She Interested?
The first question you should ask is whether your child is interested in playing sports. If she shows little desire for sports or athletics in general, you may want to consider another activity. Also ask yourself if you think your child is ready for the demands of a sport. There are tons of practices and the team will be counting on your child to be there, committed to play every game.
2. What Are Her Strengths?
If you feel that sports is a good activity for your child, consider which sport you think she might be good at. Is she fast and would enjoy something with a lot of running, like soccer? Does she have good reflexes and might enjoy something like tennis? Ask her which sports she likes to watch or play with her friends.
3. What Type of Sports?
You might also want to think about whether your child would be better off participating in a team sport or an individual sport. Working on a team provides an opportunity for learning how to interact with others and the ability to be part of a whole. An individual sport, like golf, offers a child that chance to focus on their own talents and work intimately with a coach to improve their personal skill set.
4. What About Her Friends?
If your child’s friends are playing field hockey, it might make sense to have your child join in. On the other hand, there might be some benefit to having your child select a different sport to broaden her social group. However, it’s more likely that she will be excited and interested in attending practice and games if she knows her pals will be there, too.
5. What Are the Costs?
Some sports can be quite costly, in terms of equipment, uniforms, and sign-up fees. Also, there are always hidden costs like driving to practices and games, as well as paying for banquets and other team outings. Make sure you have an idea of the total cost before signing up.
6. What Are the Time Demands?
Sports can take over a child’s world. Time spent at practice and games means less time for schoolwork. Make sure your child understands ahead of time that playing on a sports team does not mean they will be exempt from doing homework, chores, and fulfilling any other obligations she has.
7. What Do Others Think?
Knowing a little bit about the coach, his style, and how his former players feel about him is a good idea before agreeing to play on a team. Ask a few questions and do some research, like you would before making any big decision. A little homework in the beginning could prevent big problems later.