Whether its early morning practices, eating orange slices or hitting home runs, we all have fun memories we can draw on when we think about youth sports. Being a participant is part of the fun, but being a parent of a youth playing sports brings on a whole new set of opportunities, as well as challenges. We’ll take a look at some of those in this article.
The plan is to focus on one sport at a time, and give “High Fives” for the good stuff, and offer a “Heads-Up” for things to keep in mind before letting your kid get involved. First up: Soccer!
One of the best things about playing youth soccer is that it is easy to do! Finding a good youth soccer program that caters to time frames, gender breakdowns, levels of competitiveness, etc. that you are comfortable with shouldn’t be that difficult, because soccer is popular. The US Youth Soccer organization shows over 3 million registered youth soccer players in 2014, with a close-to-equal gender breakdown (52% boys / 48% girls), and good regional distribution throughout the country. You can afford to “shop-around” and find a youth sports team environment that works for your family if you pick soccer, and that is a big draw.
Unlike other youth sports, like football and hockey for example, soccer is a very easy initial “lift” in terms of the equipment requirements. While you do need to raise some money for good cleats and shin guards, there really isn’t much else you need to get started running up and down the field and scoring goals.
This is part of why soccer is by far the world’s most popular sport, but also benefits parents looking to introduce their kid to team sports without committing to a large equipment purchase.
Since soccer had become so ubiquitous, there are plenty of examples of well-funded and established travel teams inviting tryouts (whether because of skill, desire for greater numbers, etc.) and kids joining teams that have aggressive practice and game schedules. Don’t be so excited by the opportunity to participate that you forget to adequately determine how much you are committing, both your kid and yourself, to when you join a team. It can lead to burnout quick.
Whatever you do, make sure both you and your kids are having FUN, and the whole family will benefit from your kid’s involvement with soccer. Have additional advice to help parents out? Leave a comment below!
Next up: Youth Basketball!