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boys who really aren't very good at all at sport

(44 Posts)
lingle Fri 13-Apr-12 17:06:56

DS2 is 6.7 and in year 1 and isn't very good at sport - probably in the bottom 10% of boys.

which wouldn't matter except that:
- his body type looks like he'll be prone to putting on weight later
- it clearly affects his self-esteem and the Year 1 boys seem to divide into groups of haves and have-nots when it comes to football in particular.
- I think there is lots of evidence that being physically active keeps you healthy in later life, so it's not really an optional thing.
- in many ways he would love team games with rules, but he isn't that great at them. I've seen him play football at a party - it's obvious he wouldn't improve from going to the town football sessions because he got nowhere near the ball.
- he can be difficult to motivate with new activities that he thinks are hard.

We (dh, me and db) enjoy playing the odd "our rules" baseball game (ds uses a tennis racket). I got him riding his bike round a track today and focussed on him beating his personal best (and nearly distracted him from being beaten by a girl aged 5.11). But dh and I are not sporty either so the thing we know would be best (loads of sport as a family on our terms) is hard for us.

I am an experienced musician and have helped kids with very little natural ability rise many levels just through perserverance and finding a way to enjoy it. But I don't think there is enough personal attention in primary school sport for that to happen with DS.

Anyone want to talk? feel free to just tell me plain that the only option is more family sport.

MatchsticksForMyEyes Fri 13-Apr-12 17:11:59

What about something like trampolining? Or martial arts, which would keep him fit and increase his confidence? Swimming?

trice Fri 13-Apr-12 17:14:45

I have a ds who cannot run or jump with any level of coordination. He cannot trsck or catch a ball like his peers. He gets shouted at and belittled at school in pe and games.

However he enjoys jogging with me, trampolining walking and archery, canoeing and climbing. I think you just have to find something they like and go with that. School is bad at working with individuals.

nolongeramug Fri 13-Apr-12 17:17:08

You're not alone, my DS is also in yr 1, and has absolutely no sporting ability. Last year in sports day he was last in everyone of his races by a mile... But he got the biggest cheer.
I did concern me, but he shines in other areas, he will sit and read nicely and plays lovely imaginative games when I can get the Nintendo DS out of his hands
I am really quite sporty and active and would love him to get an interest in a sport, so I let him have a go at any after school activities he wants to try, he does tend to struggle and give up, but I try not to make a big issue out of it.

Ambrosius Fri 13-Apr-12 17:20:01

My only suggestion would be to get him to try everything even if its something you don't expect him to like, try gymnastics, dance, swimming, horse riding, rugby,if he likes his bike encourage that.
Family sport is a good way to go thoug, or just active holidays and days out, Go Ape, climbing and walking. some leisure centres have climbing walls too.

O2BNormal Fri 13-Apr-12 17:20:44

My DSs aren't sporty either (9 & 11yo) and even if they could be "made" to participate whilst young I think they're unlikely to continue as they get older (I know I didn't)

IMO you need to demonstrate an active, rather than sporty lifestyle. E.g ride bikes rather than take car, play in the swimming pool, rather than swim laps, go bowling rather than cinema, walking holidays rather than laying on a beach, let them have a patch of garden to look after...

As a parent of untalented boys it's much kinder on you not to be involved in kids team sports - it's horrible out there!

FWIW my DCs do love the local climbing wall and have joined a Tri club where the emphasis is much more on being active and having fun than being "good". They do encourage their talented youngsters to progress, but there is a place for those with less talent, which isn't the case in team based sports ime.

Cubs is also great, they run around like mad things for an hour, playing games , rather then "sport" and always come out dripping with sweat grin

Hassled Fri 13-Apr-12 17:22:22

I have a Dyspraxic 13 year old who has never been good at sport - like you, I worry about his weight etc. So far it's been fine - but then we walk a lot (I don't drive) - he has a half hour walk each way to school, and then at weekends there's more. I think that's helped, but the other thing to consider is a more niche sport which it's easier to seem good at, IYSWIM. So many boys play football that you have to be really really good to be perceived as good - with something like hockey, say, there's a much smaller pool of talent and it's easier (at his age) to hold your own. So maybe have a think about local clubs offering less usual sports training?

Re the football/self esteem/fitting in thing - my experience with my DSs has been that it's enough to know the players/clubs etc. If you can name the Arsenal/Man U/whoever goalie then you're sorted - you don't need to be able to play.

CanCant Fri 13-Apr-12 17:22:44

Would something like yoga be good for his balance, suppleness, body awareness do you think?

NagooBunnytail Fri 13-Apr-12 17:34:29

DS is 5 and he doesn't like sport either, but for the reasons you gave, I want him to try.

I take him to 'rugby training' and they don't play the games as such, they practice throwing and catching, tagging each other etc. So he gets as much of a turn as anyone else smile

TheFallenMadonna Fri 13-Apr-12 17:45:26

My DS is rubbish at anything that requires coordinating himself with any other players. He is terrible at football and rugby, and pretty rubbish at cricket. The latter he still plays, because everyone is nice (!), football he stopped when he was about 6 because he was just annoying everyone particularly the dads. I don't think there's a problem with realising you are bad at something, especially if you are good at other things. It's useful to be able to say "football.." to him with a raised eyebrow when he comments on someone else's lack of ability in Maths, for example.

He does love charging around though, and he is reasonably competitive, so he does triathlon. Running, swimming, cycling. He's not great - but he's not rubbish. He falls over every transition (coordination!), but he only has to worry about himself, and that helps!

desertgirl Fri 13-Apr-12 20:02:44

DS will be 6 in July and also pretty hopeless at sport - had an OT assess him about 18 months ago, and his gross motor skills were in the 3rd percentile for his age. So, apart from some OT exercises for a while, he has been going to all sorts of organised activities - more than I would normally think reasonable! - to try to develop some skills before he gets to the age where he starts being too embarrassed to try. So, depending on what is available where and when, we have done "rugby" and football, and are doing gymnastics, tennis, highland dance - and he is about to start ballet by his choice (he loves the highland dance, where there are some other boys, and DD (4) has recently started ballet class - so he did a trial class and is starting properly next week. Anyway, at school's recent 'sports day' he was far less obviously behind than at the same time the year before; OT was impressed with how well he did come on - practice does help; find something he is happy to do and let him do it!

I was always utterly hopeless at anything sporting and though he is never going to set the sports world on fire, I would really like him to be able to join in with 'active' things more than I could.

Good luck smile

ragged Fri 13-Apr-12 20:10:52

(Almost) anyone can go for a walk or a leisurely bike ride or a silly fun swim. Make it fun, whatever you do. Then you'll want to do more of it. Active lifestyle, exactly.

An0therName Fri 13-Apr-12 21:17:32

I agree with desertgirl try loads of different activites - especially in the holidays in our area there are lots of oppertunities to try things and yes active lifestyle is the way to go in terms of weight

littleshebear Sat 14-Apr-12 12:18:57

Will share my experiences, not sure how helpful it will be!My eldest son was terrible at all things sporty- he went to football once in primary school and after it had finished said to me that he had no idea which way to run-and this continued throughout his school career- he brought home a swimming certificate when he did school swimming saying it was suitable for children with special needs, I could go on! I took him to GP re coordination and he had an assessment but not bad enough to be diagnosed as anything- he is just not very good at sport!He also tends to plumpness, and I was worried because I could see no way of encouraging him to be more active, and in fact never managed it when he was a child.

My second son is sports mad- he is very coordinated and gets all the rules immediately- he is very popular and sport has been a great thing for him. I think he is more popular than brother was at school, don't know though if that is more personality type as he is extrovert unlike his brother, but sport is a big shared interest with other boys.We support him but I can say we haven't encouraged him as such, we aren't sporty and it has been surprise how sporty he is.

However, we all enjoy walking and cycling on holiday and eldest son enjoys these now- he has also taken it upon himself to lose weight! He is 19 and is going to Central St Martins next year to study Fine Art,I suppose my point is, don't worry, just try your best and do some activity with him that you enjoy and value and encourage his interests.

I would also agree that boys football can get nasty- they are all very competitive and I wouldn't encourage it if there is no interest. You might try cricket- my son plays this too and they are much more laid back and there is more room for a range of abilities in the squad- this may just be my experience.

pinktrees Sat 14-Apr-12 12:23:02

My DS has very poor coordination naturally and he is skinny and lanky. It was flagged at nursery and aged 3, he had to do exercises. I enrolled him in anything going - general sports sessions, football, tennis, swimming anything at all. Fast forward 3 years (he is now in year 1 aged 6.0) and his PE teacher has just said that he is wonderful at PE and also swimming. It is like anything else - whilst your DS might not be an olympic athlete, lots of sports will definitely help him. My DS is not a natural footballer at all, but he can play football with boys of his own age without a problem.

FallenCaryatid Sat 14-Apr-12 12:27:37

My DS hated school sports, but loves kayaking and archery. You need to think outside the box, and in non-competitive fields.

Smokedsalmonbagel Sat 14-Apr-12 21:48:38

Interesting thread.

My DS1 is a bit younger and in reception. I've started to worry about him and sports. The majority of boys in his class love football and play in the park after school. DS has no interest in it at all. I worry he might start to feel left out in the future.

We have started karate with him which he enjoys. He does the class with his Dad which I think is really nice. Might be worth a try?

ReallyTired Sat 14-Apr-12 21:56:31

My son is useless at sport and had a child physio between the ages of 24 months and three and half years old. He also had input from the occupational theraphist when he was in year 1.

I think you have to build exercise into their day. Ie. walk as much as possible. Its good to be active as a family. My son does karate twice a week and cycles to school.

Rather than push your child to be good at sport I think its worth developing the talents they have. For example my son loves his music and singing. Having something a child is good at is good for their self esteem.

clopper Sat 14-Apr-12 22:01:39

I think you should try a variety of different activities. agree with the suggestions of karate, swimming, trampolining and bike riding or maybe walking as a family combined with geocaching. These are active sports/ activities, but don't have to be competitive. Lots of people don't like organised team games and they can be overwhelming if you are not a natural athlete.

TheAvocadoOfWisdom Sat 14-Apr-12 22:17:10

My DS1 is also in Y1, and hates sport. On Sports relief day, when they had to dress in sports kit, he came to school dressed as a chess player. We take lots of walks at the weekend, and do a bit of bike stuff. But family treks in the countryside are lots of fun.

Lindax Sat 14-Apr-12 22:32:24

- in many ways he would love team games with rules, but he isn't that great at them. I've seen him play football at a party - it's obvious he wouldn't improve from going to the town football sessions because he got nowhere near the ball.

ds was a bit like this in P1 and we took him to the community football training run by the local football team and it was great (after getting over the first few sessions where he skipped around the pitch during the training blush). most of the hour is spent on ball skills and fitness training with a bit of game playing at the end. as his confidence increased he soon got into it and is now footie mad (still doesnt play in a real team as not quite good enough for that yet).

obviously if your ds's peers are doing this kind of thing already and he isnt they will run rings around him at a football party.

so if he is interested it's worth looking at what type of community football is available, think most clubs run them for little ones.

UniS Sat 14-Apr-12 22:49:21

ignore his being good or not at any sport at this age. the important thing is does he LIKE any sport, or the idea of any sport, football, tennis, swimming or what ever... get him to try a session or two of those sports with a junior training session of other kids his age ( or there abouts). I think in your situation I'd give football, rugby or cricket training a try if the time and location suit. He won't be any "good" at a game like football till he has learnt some skills and some rules, it takes time and practise.

I have a year 1 DS who loves cricket - but is not very good at it as he can't catch or throw accurately, but goes to colts in the summer to help him practise those skills, and to roll around on the grass with his mate.
DS Loves football, but only ever plays kick about in the park( 4 small boys running after a ball, DS generally in the rear as hes the youngest). Likes swimming, he has a class once week and likes dance, again class once a week. Adores cycling, cycles to school and as a family.

lingle Sun 15-Apr-12 18:08:28

thank you for all those helpful replies.

In our town, the local football sessions (complete with A,B and C teams and tournaments) have, I've noticed, got a bit of a mixed reputation. I've come across several parents who are humiliated by their child's behaviour/angry about other children's behaviour/concerned about the aggression levels on the pitch - all in all I've felt I wanted to steer clear of this with both boys (including sportier older brother). It's interesting to see from the replies that this is not a phenomenon confined to our town!

My summit of my ambition for football would be for him to feel able to join in a kickaround on the street or at a campsite - that kind of thing.

DH has, after lots of persuasion, been dredging up memories of his own grandfather's attempts to interest him in soccer and has done about 8 weekly 20-minute football sessions with DS2. From saying he didn't like football, now DS2 says he "likes football with dad". He still wouldn't be able to join in with his footie peers yet but it proves that we don't have to write it off completely yet. I wish I could get together a "crummy at football - no I mean really crummy not just not making the A-team" group.

Our family's thing (including DS2) is music and on a voluntary basis I've worked with a few children who who love music yet have poor pulse/poor rhythm/poor aural memory - the musical equivalents of my DS2 at sport. It's taken me a year to get one lad able to play a tune while carrying the basic beat in his head. But now this skill is coming, he suddenly seems like a "musical" boy and no-one need know how little came naturally. So this is my sort of hope for DS2.

whitelillies Mon 16-Apr-12 08:36:12

I think you ve had brilliant insightful and practical advice so far re lifestyle and encouragement at lots of different activities.
I just thought i d like to share my brother s experience - growing up he was awkward - tall and gangly. Never really did well with team or co ordination type sports.
Where we lived there was football or rugby - he hated these - so ended up not very 'sporty'.
Until he want to uni - where he discovered rowing ...... he started rowing and ended up rowing representing our country. He stills rows and swims and he s into adventure racing, running, kite surfing, trekking, hill walking, hill running, orienteering, motor and dirt biking, Every weekend he s off to something new! He s a cool guy with lots of friends.

helpyourself Mon 16-Apr-12 08:42:47

All my DC are rubbish at sports grin, however they aren't too aware of it, enjoy being outside and are quite physical. What you described personal bests and bashing about with bats and rackets rather than structured activities is great for building confidence and skills. Structure activities like the local junior leagues often sound like you describe.

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