Are your children having the same experiences with youth sports that you had when you were growing up?
My children’s experiences with youth sports are very different from mine. When I came home from elementary school, I couldn’t wait to make the neighborhood rounds with my brother to see who wanted to play touch football in the street, baseball at the local park, Wiffle ball or basketball in the driveway, or simply ride bikes.
We would even make up games — baseball with a tennis racket and racquetball ... man would that ball really fly. The only time we heard from our parents was a bell, a whistle or a simple shout signaling dinner time.
Today, it is rare that I see kids playing sports on their own. Instead, it is all about adult-organized practices, games, camps and clinics. While there is nothing wrong with these organized sports, there should be a time and place for kids organizing games, picking teams and settling disputes on their own.
• Try and recall the games you played as a youth, and consider sharing some of these with your kids.
• Encourage your kids to organize and play sports and games on their own in your neighborhood or a local park.
• Leave time on your children’s schedules for free play time.
• Make some time to play with your children and their friends without coaching or offering advice.