Many times we find ourselves with the decision of what activities and sports should we sign up our kids?
As parents sometimes we use our own background and experiences to reach a decision, other times we ask our friends, families, internet to find an answer. My opinion is that as parents we should facilitate the opportunities we give our kids. Forcing a sport on them no matter how passionate or how much anyone recommends it to you, should be only introduced after taking your son to see the sport first hand. So for example if you would like to introduce your son to soccer, then go ahead and take him to the games and or practices, maybe someone you know already takes his/her kids to soccer so taking them there is a great idea for them to see if it would interest them.
Soccer is a great sport; more than just getting physically fit it also encourages a lot of teamwork and most importantly is the friendships that are made. Unfortunately a large percentage of kids will quit the sport in a couple of years. The reasons are many, but the main ones are:
1. Lack of playing time: coach is interested in winning and decides to only play his most experienced and best players, while at the same time discouraging the less skilled and experienced player.
2. Look up part 1, as the years go by your son realizes he’s not good enough to play at a higher level and decides to quit.
What can we do? If your son likes soccer, then now we must find the right club for him. Most soccer clubs have a recreational program, one where kids of all skill level can participate and play the sport. Usually these practices are run by volunteers coaches who usually have their kids in the same club. What’s important here is the club’s mission and how they emphasize the growth of your son in his soccer life. Many clubs have a minimum of playing time for the players on game day. Usually everyone must play half the time, so if a soccer match is 60 minutes total, every kid must play at least 30 min. however that doesn’t mean the coaches follow that mission, I have coached and watched many games where coaches have decided to play only their best players. In an attempt to get a meaningless win, they are sacrificing the development, growth and enjoyment of the kids on the bench. If your kid is new to the sport, he may find himself in this predicament, especially if he’s on a U8 team or older. My advice, visit the nearby clubs, talk to the directors watch their games especially for your son’s age group. Are the coaches concerned about the result? Or are they playing every kid and encouraging everyone to do their best? It always breaks my heart to see kids quit year after year, even though is normal for some to quit the sport. When we put the development of our kids ahead of results everyone benefits.