Did you know July 22-28 is National Youth Sports Week? Neither did I...until I saw a posting in a physical education listserv.
If you've read A Running Start or attended one of my presentations, you're aware that I'm opposed to children participating in organized sports before the age of 8. And I'm not the only one. The experts agree that children under 8 don't yet have the appropriate developement -- physically, socially, emotionally, or cognitively -- to succeed in sports. And if there's little chance of success, why would we want to subject them to sports? Failure can only lead to frustration, which in turn will lead to a dislike of physical activity in general. And that's certainly not the way to promote lifelong fitness!
Well, that's my argument in a very small nutshell. That said, if you're looking for a sport or physical activity program for your child, there's a wonderful set of guidelines provided by the National Association for Sport & Physical Education (NASPE). Appropriately enough, it's titled "Choosing the Right Sport & Physical Activity Program for Your Child," and it can be downloaded for free at: http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/template.cfm?template=position-papers.html.
I realize it's the middle of summer and many of you have already made your choices. But, whether your child is happy or unhappy with the choice, this document can help you understand why. And it can help you do just as good a job -- or an even better one -- the next time you go "shopping."