Go team? Or go it alone?

Concerned that your child will be more inclined to play video baseball than the real thing? If it’s time to get your child off the couch and onto a real playing field, there are many opportunities for introducing your kids to sports, but which sport is right for your child? Will your child be best suited on a team or as an individual competitor? It would be easier if your child just expressed a specific interest, but there are still factors to consider before you steer her onto a playing field.


It’s a commitment

All sports require some commitment of time and expense by the athlete and family, so you should know how much your family is willing to commit before you choose. For example, sports like soccer and basketball not only have regular season games, but there may be playoff games and travel to other playing fields.

A sport like a bowling league typically meets once a week with optional tournaments throughout the year. An individual sport like gymnastics may have flexibility in scheduling, training, while a baseball game is scheduled at a certain time and all players must appear at that time.

How much money can you spend? Such sports as golf, equestrian events, and travel teams can be expensive, while participating on a track team requires only a good pair of sneakers and maybe a league fee.


Where does your child fit?

Some kids seem destined to compete and are unfazed by cheering crowds or the pressure of having their team’s success or failure riding on their small shoulders. Others will cower and hope the ball doesn’t find them with the game on the line.  

So ask yourself whether you see your child as a tiger or a pussycat on the playing field. A timid child may not like team competition and may be upstaged by more aggressive teammates. That same child may thrive in a sport such as track, gymnastics, golf or tennis where he or she can develop as an individual. It might work the other way too. A more aggressive child may actually be best suited on a team sport where he learns how to work as a team.



Laurie Bryant is a teacher, writer and playwright with a lifetime of sports experience. She lives in Lagrangeville with her husband and two sons.