So, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are finally here. It’s time once again for mere mortals to just watch in awe as the sports deities from around the world battle it out for pride and glory. And for sure, many of you also wonder how it’d feel like to be one of those sports gods.
Well, it might already be too late for some of you. But if you’ve got young kids, you can still make being an Olympian possible for them. Just be sure to get them into sports early. Take a look at some tips for starting your kids on sports young.
Expose your kids to sports
First, you should expose your kids to different kinds of sports. This way, you’ll know which sport they’ll be interested in or if they’ll be interested in sports at all! The easiest way to do this is to watch games on TV with them. And while at it, you can explain the rules of the game, tell them something about the best players in the sport, and answer any questions they might have in words that won’t overwhelm or bore them. For example, you can watch the swimming events at the Tokyo Games and tell your kids about the four swimming strokes and the medal haul of Michael Phelps.
Aside from watching sports on TV, you can also bring your kids to stadiums and arenas to watch sports live. This is so your kids can experience the actual game scenario, which is quite different from what is shown on TV. So if there’s a community baseball league in your hometown, for instance, take your kids every Friday night to watch the games. Just remember, when exposing your kids to sports, do not make them feel that they actually have to get into sports. What’s important is that they have fun, so they can fall in love with sports.
Play sports with your kids
Second, play sports with your kids as much as you can. You can show them how to enjoy and love sports by doing this. If your kids are into horseback riding, for example, regularly take them to the nearest ranch, preferably one that offers riding lessons, and ride with them. And when they get better, you can even reward them (and maybe yourself!) with their very own high-quality horse equipment, such as a saddle and lead rope, and apparel. You’re in luck if it’s just basketball that your kids like. All you’ll need to do is set up a hoop in your yard or on your driveway to play with your kids!
What’s more, when you play sports with them, you’ll be your kids’ first coach, teammate, and opponent. You can teach them the value of discipline, teamwork, and sportsmanship. Take basketball again as an example. If you beat your kids in H-O-R-S-E all the time, teach them the proper shooting stroke and let them practice by themselves. And if they throw a tantrum every time they lose, tell them that playing sports isn’t all about winning. Make sure they know that it’s also about being gracious in defeat and learning from the experience.
Support your kids’ sports dreams
Third, give your kids all the support they need to achieve their sports dreams. Surely, you would support your kids if they wanted to become lawyers or doctors, right? Then, you should do the same if they were interested in becoming athletes. Start with providing them proper training. Yes, you can always train your kids yourself, but if they show great interest and potential, they’ll be better off with professional coaches and trainers. These professionals will know the latest techniques for sports training and have the necessary facility and equipment. Plus, they’ll also have access to tournaments that your kids can join to further develop their skills.
But more than providing them proper training (and gear and equipment, for that matter), you should support your kids’ sports dreams by being there for them. If they have soccer practice three times a week, then drive them to practice just as often. Get off work early so you can shout your head off for your kids during a championship game. When they feel nervous before a game or down afterward, you can give them a pep talk. In short, be their greatest supporter and cheerleader.
While it might already be too late for you, your kids still got a shot at being great athletes, and maybe even Olympians, one day. But they need your help to get them into sports early. Start them young by exposing them to sports, playing sports with them, and supporting their sports dreams.