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Choosing the Right Sport by Priyanka ,  Feb 1, 2013

So Many Sports, Only One You!

For some people, choosing which sports to pursue throughout high school is hard because they have never really played an organized sport before and aren't sure what they'll most enjoy. For others it's a tough decision because their friends don't like to play the same sports.

No matter what your sports dilemma is, you have to make the decision that is best for you. If you're great at soccer but would rather play football because you think it's more fun, then give the pigskin a go (just make sure it's cool with mom and dad)!

Sports are meant to be fun. If there is a sport you really enjoy but you aren't sure if you can make the team, try out anyway. What's the worst that can happen? If you get cut you can always try another sport. And sports like cross-country and track don't typically cut participants from the team. You can still participate even if you're not on the meet squad.

Assess your physical ability. Do you have good endurance? Balance? Coordination? Speed? Different sports may call for different strengths. If you want to run long track, you'll obviously have to have good endurance. But for something like Tai Chi, that may not be much of a priority.

Do a background check on past sports. What sports have you taken before? Are you still taking them? If you stopped, then why? Could you not commit anymore? Were you not enjoying it? Find out the cause and assess it. If you stopped playing soccer because you didn't like the team setup, then why not try a more individual sport? Or vice versa?

Examine what type of sport you would want to do. Do you like working in teams? Do you like sports that involve more physical stress? Do you like sports that make you think? Or do you like sports where you can just enjoy it without competition?

Examine your body type. If you're bulkier, you may want a sport that involves more strength, like Crew or Football. If you're tall, you may want to try Fencing or Basketball.

Look for sport centers or YMCAs around your area. If you're stuck on which sport to try, go somewhere where there is a wide range of them to choose from. You might just find the right one for you.

The right sport for your child

Look to your child's interests, is she extremely active and loves running around? Does she enjoy watching her sisters play netball? Has she expressed an interest in a certain sport? Does she love to dance? Often what we love doing for fun translates to what we'll enjoy as a sport - so spend some time on-line researching what's available in your area. You could even spend some time with your child watching clips on YouTube or on a Sport's channel watching the sport in action.
There has been a proliferation of programs promoting sport and physical activity for children and youth. Due to diversity in program philosophies, objectives, facilities, and leadership, it is imperative that parents/guardians assess program quality, both initially and periodically, to determine if the program will be a positive experience for their child-physically, socially and emotionally.
Active Competitor 
The young out-there kid will likely enjoy team sports that utilize coordination and motor development. Basketball, soccer and lacrosse all require full-body movements, jogging, running, catching and throwing. The skills used in these sports are transferable to other athletic pursuits, making these activities especially good for younger children who may have the potential and desire to become all-around athletes.

Shyer Sort
If your kid is reserved or slow to warm, she may actually benefit from recreational competition in a team setting, which could help bring her out of her shell. If she enjoys traditional team sports like soccer, look for leagues that focus more on skill development and teamwork than on competition. Also consider swimming, gymnastics or track. with the less competitive child, the focus should be on fun and skill building.

Some children simply aren’t interested in sports or competition. Parents need to focus on helping these kids accumulate daily, fun physical activity—think lessons and classes. Swap sports teams for swimming or skating lessons, rock climbing sessions, dance or tumbling classes. Family hikes or bike rides also work. With a little encouragement, even the least athletic kids will enjoy the exercise and the social interaction.
Helping your child choose the right sport can play into a lifetime of fun and fitness. Because every child develops at a different rate, the only rule is to wait until your child expresses an interest in a sport and has the skills needed to successfully participate, says Michael Gray, professor of physical education and director of the human performance lab at Northern Kentucky University. You should also consider whether your child would benefit from a team sport, where the success of the group is independent of one player's performance, or an individual sport that focuses on one child's performance.