When I first started looking for activities for my children (other than gymnastics of course!), I was looking for something that would burn energy, teach something, and be somewhat low commitment for my child’s ever changing schedule.
From there, we ventured into something a little more competitive: team sports. Soccer, baseball, basketball for starters.
My oldest, Grant, has had the most experience in sports thus far. He loves sports. He is decent at them. I have my #1 parenting line, “I enjoyed watching you play”, ready at the end of every game. Team sports are great and teach kids a lot about commitment and interpersonal life skills.
Yet, I am now hoping for him to express a more serious interest in an individual sport. I have my list ready to pitch to him when we have our summer sports discussion.
Individual sports teach you about the importance of dedication and hard work. That the effort you put in is reflected in your performance. That improvement is a result of a process.
Skills you learn from being in an individual sport are life skills that help you succeed in your career and personal life as well. Finding intrinsic motivation that drives you. Not doing something for a coach or friend, but doing it for yourself. Finding the drive within and pushing yourself to achieve the next milestone.
So while I don’t want him to give up some of the team sports and activities he does, I do want him to learn to push himself, and I think individual sports are the perfect way to do it.
Next time you are looking for an activity for your child, consider the benefits to an individual sport, such as gymnastics, where progress is measured as a betterment of self. Where dedication leads to new skill development. And success is felt from within.