Parents often come to me in despair: “We have tried everything! My child just doesn’t like sports!” But “everything” often refers to the more prevalent sports like Little League baseball, after-school basketball, or soccer. All of these are wonderful programs, if your child enjoys team sports. However, many children prefer the solitary challenges of an individual sport, like gymnastics, swimming, or fencing (my personal favorite).
Variety is important in making physical education more appealing, and exposing children to many different sports can be the key to finding one that will engage them. At the beginning of every school year I remind my students that they may not love every activity we learn, but they will all find something they do love. To me, this is the key to increasing the likelihood that someone will remain active and fit throughout his or her lifetime.
Last year I received a phone call from a parent. She had enrolled her son in basketball, baseball, martial arts, and more over the years, but nothing clicked. While she knew it was important to keep her son active and fit, she didn’t know what to do to encourage him. He came home one day from school and informed her, “I found my sport.” She had called to thank me, and to ask, “Where do I find a badminton program?”