You don’t have to be a star swimmer to play Water Polo. Water Polo is a team sport which focuses on basic skill development and physical endurance. Learn how to catch, throw and swim with the ball with one hand as well as the learn the egg beater.
Every community sports program can positively contribute to healthy child development, create shared experiences and memories for families, and help to develop a sense of community identity. Review the following list of contributors to healthy child development in sport and check the list for those which are most important for you and for the sports program.
Understanding Child Development
- Our sport program recognizes that children play differently than adults
- Our program makes sure that all children — early and late developing children — have an equal opportunity to practice and play
Sport For Self-esteem and Social Development
- Our sport program is designed to build self-esteem — it gives children positive learning and success experiences that match each child’s level of ability and maturity
- Our sport program encourages all child and adult participants to respect and support one another
- Our sport program encourages social interaction through group or team experiences including the skills of cooperation, coordination, respect for diversity and division of responsibility
Preparing Adults for Participation in Children’s Sport
Philosophy of the Coach – Coaches should have a healthy, child-centered approach to coaching. That is, sport should always be taught in a manner that positively contributes to a child’s personal and life skill development.
Coaches should teach young sports participants to value skill development, challenge, playing fair, and having fun in the sports environment. Winning should be secondary and the coach must show a positive understanding of and value the experience of both winning and losing.
There are also numerous resources available to volunteer coaches who want to learn more about the sport they coach, child development and working with children. Usually, a high school diploma will be required, but those who don’t have that may consider getting ready fast for their high school equivalency diploma (GED) by taking free online practice tests for their GED exam like the ones offered by BestGEDClasses.org.
Reasonable Parental Expectations
Children want recognition and support from their parents – Parents must provide recognition for the child’s sports accomplishments in an unconditional manner.
Children should never feel pressured to win or to train in any sports environment in order to gain recognition and affection from their parents. Eliminating parental pressure can remove stress on children that in turn can lead to improved focus and long-term development of the child. This can also help prevent burnout and dropout.
Parents need to communicate with coaches to develop and clarify the reasonable performance expectations for the child and the team’s level of development. The parent’s expectations must also be mindful of and support the administrators, the coaches and the officials who may be volunteers from the community, interested teenagers or even somewhat reluctant parents. Parents must respect the time and effort that these volunteers both offer and are capable of providing.
A parent’s added pressure on these volunteers will not improve the individual results of their child. Parents who have reasonable expectations and provide unconditional support contribute to their child’s enjoyment, growth, and development in sport.
Preparing Adults for Participation in Children’s Sports Winning and Losing
Sport provides children with an excellent opportunity to learn how to manage the emotions that are associated with winning and losing. Valuable lessons can be learned about improvement in skill and the value of challenge from both winning and losing. Adult participants in children’s sport play an extremely important role in teaching children how to win and lose graciously. Read also this article about famous people who initially dropped out of high school for motivation purposes.
Parents and coaches should consistently teach, and model behavior that demonstrates to children the importance of self-respect and respect for coaches, officials, teammates and opponents in both victory and defeat.
Regardless of the outcome of the competition, children should be encouraged by these adults to always remember that the spirit of competition is valuable not only for the outcome but also for the process of striving to achieve that outcome in a fair and dignified manner.
Competition for Children – There are many myths regarding children’s sports competition which are widespread in the community recreation setting. Just read this interesting Huffpost story on the competitive sports experience for children.