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Sports for enjoyment not county/national glory....

(12 Posts)
Maltropp Mon 03-Apr-17 08:54:46

My kids enjoy sport but aren't natural sporting geniuses.

DS1 swims in a development squad at his club, he's steady but not the fastest, he loves training 3x a week and doing the occasional gala but doesn't want county or regional times. I worry there's gonna come a point where it's up or out which seems sad.

Similarly he took up hockey in Jan. He's yr 7, he joined a club affiliated loosely with school. He adores it has taken to it pretty well but I found out at a tournament yesterday that he's competing against teams withkids who've been playing since they were 7 years old and are progressing thru the county development structure and spend holiday time at expensive (beyond my means) hockey training camps etc etc. I don't even want him going down the regional development route (unless he does turn out to be a natural, hard to guage after a few weeks of training.... But seems unlikely..). The club is all inclusive and super friendly and nurturing but I fret that as he gets older it will all get more competitive and it will become much the same, you make a top squad or get sidelined and demoralised.

I thought sport was about enjoyment, fitness, having a shared interest etc not just glory/winning /county achievements etc.

Is it all like this in kids sports now? What happens to the not brilliant kids who still want to participate?

DS1 loves his hockey and swimming but also loves scouting, family camp trips, hanging out on the park with his mates etc etc. I don't want a life of just shunting him from training sessions to training session but want to engender a love of sport and a feeling he can have a go/enjoy and the confidence to join the tercentenary sports club at uni or as an adult for enjoyment.

Interested in others thoughts on this or do you all have budding olympians?

Maltropp Mon 03-Apr-17 08:58:48

"tercentenary"?? Mad made up phone word, I was trying to type the word " relevant ". Fat fingers.

CMOTDibbler Mon 03-Apr-17 09:05:31

It seems to me that kids sports all seem to be about competing these days.
My ds is rubbish at football/tennis, quite likes rugby but doesn't want to be in a club, no urge to compete.

He's a good cyclist, and does non competitive endurance events with us (you get a time, so you challenge yourself), we do parkrun and mud run things together (badly!), he and I swim lengths together a few times a week and will go open water swimming when it warms up, and other stuff. No pressure, just being active together and having fun

QueenofLouisiana Tue 04-Apr-17 07:26:29

It will depend on the club I think. DS is a swimmer, we are a small club with a 25 mile radius intake (rural area). His club takes anyone who can swim the basic assessment- 25m in all 4 strokes (not competition legal) is about it!

They pretty much all train at the same time (according to age), so regional level 12 year olds train next to those training for the next novice gala. Land training I surely by age, with the exercise differentiated by ability.

There are other teams in our county with a very different approach- highly differentiated squads, threats of moving down if you miss PBs. They are often much bigger, based in the towns and (to be fair) have bigger coaching teams and better facilities. Officially we are a development club, possibly moving the children on to a bigger squad if they show potential. In reality we tend not to move as the children are happy and have balance. Most of them do other things beyond swimming.

DS swims at regional level, his closest swimming mates didn't qualify for County Champs this year. The only person this bothers is DS as he doesn't have mates with him when competing.

FiveGoMadInDorset Tue 04-Apr-17 07:38:54

My two play badminton for fitness and fun, opportunity to compete at county of good enough but definitely not the be all and end all,

lljkk Tue 04-Apr-17 07:50:12

It reads to me like OP minds more than the lad does that he's not the best, he might often lose. So what? Someone has to come bottom in the league. Playing against fierce competition will teach him character & resolve & to do his best.

I thought sport was about enjoyment, fitness, having a shared interest etc not just glory/winning /county achievements etc.

imho, sport is about WINNING, or doing your damnedest to win.
Aerobics classes & leisure sessions & youth clubs are about "enjoyment, fitness, having a shared interest". Let your son choose how much of each atmosphere he likes.

Maltropp Tue 04-Apr-17 08:57:09

I am letting him choose.... He chose not to go down the competitive route for Swimming as he's not got great times and he doesn't want to give up other things like scouts to go land training and extra hours in the pool etc. His best mate chose that route and has leapt ahead and competes loads but dropped one of his other activites to focus on his swimming. The club does accommodate both lads fine at the mo. I am also heartened at having found out there is a "club" route offered where those not wanting to compete much can train up to 3 hours per week for fitness and to improve technique and to take part in the club champs, open water days etc.

Hockey he's just starting out at... I dislike this "oh you didn't start him at 7? " kinda attitude from some of the other parents (not from DS's team) I ran into at a tournament - I wasn't even aware that kids could play hockey that young and that there were formal development routes and structures, knew very little about how it works til DS said he was interested as some school friends played and said it was fun.

The hockey club has 6 adult men's teams from the super good ones to the fun players... Just hoping that exists for the younger players too.

I've always enjoyed playing a range of sports (mainly not very well!) .... If I lose it doesn't ruin my enjoyment of having taken part at all. Agree someone has to lose.

I guess I'm probably guilty of projecting my own sporting crapness (vs. Wild enthusiasm) onto DS.... He may yet turn out to be great or decide he'd rather quit and take up chess or summat wholly different.

CMOTDibbler Tue 04-Apr-17 10:34:47

Lljkk, as an adult I do get to participate in a lot of actual sport with no possible chance of winning, just pushing myself - cycling, triathlon, running, open water swimming. I train hard, but the club isn't going to chuck me out for not being in contention. I think the OP wants the same for her DS as is available for adults

Maltropp Tue 04-Apr-17 10:59:31

Yes CMOT has it spot on.

Mistigri Tue 04-Apr-17 11:00:03

My 14 year old cycles competitively but it's just for enjoyment - I harbour no illusions that he's a future BMX world champion ;)

He does regional competitions, which he enjoys and does well at, but he has always refused to do national competitions even though he is in the top 3-4 in his age group in our region. And he had a complete break from competition for 18 months because he wasn't enjoying it that much.

His team emphasises participation and doing your best over results, and I wholeheartedly support that. His club trainer has two sons who have the potential to compete at a high level but for various reasons have never done so - which gives me confidence that the club will never prioritise results over well-being.

lljkk Tue 04-Apr-17 18:54:21

OP said her DS wont get chucked out of hockey & that getting chucked out of swimming was only a maybe. They aren't only clubs in world, anyway.

(I am also a slow runner & triath wannabe)

Susiesue61 Fri 07-Apr-17 14:04:13

All 3 of mine are keen on football and cricket. I've found in football, you can generally find a team that suits them, so Ds2 stopped playing for one team because he was hardly getting on the pitch as he wasn't considered 'good enough', but after a break, he's started again with a lovely coach who gives them all a go. He's never going to set the world alight but he loves it.
The 2 boys both play cricket for a club with small numbers who just appreciate them turning up every week! DH helps out as well. They could join other clubs but might not get a chance, and I don't want other parents putting pressure on them. And they are happy where they are.
DD plays at a higher level but that is entirely her choice. She puts terrible pressure on herself to do well and it can be quite stressful for all of us!
So I think you can shop around and find what you're looking for smile

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