Quick quiz: if you asked your child 10 things they can do with their free time outside of school, would their current sport even make the list?
While my own two sons seem to really enjoy playing soccer in the context of games, practices and when I engage them at home, it’s rare that either will spontaneously decide to grab a ball and practice skills or play 1v1.
As parents and coaches, this is a mindset that needs to be altered. It’s a need beyond producing an athlete for competition at older ages – it’s about producing active people in good health.
So why are our children choosing other activities? As middle class Americans it’s easy to do so.
There’s plentiful games and toys in our house.
The Internet is always on and offers a deep selection of free and apparently addictive Flash based video games.
Ditto for the iPad – games everywhere!
And the Wii – always new levels to explore in Lego Star Wars, Harry Potter or other favorites.
And on the DVR there’s a deep catalog of favorite shows like Phineas and Ferb.
All of these are options that weren’t available to me as a child.
So as parents, what do we do to encourage our children to be active in any sport?