Just because your child doesn’t love sports doesn’t mean he/she is not an athlete.
If your child isn’t interested in team sports you might want to get to the root of what the issue is, instead of forcing him/her to join a team. Kids may not want to participate in sports for many reasons, some of them physical and some emotional.
Children with low self-esteem who are physically self-conscious or feel different from their peers may feel uncomfortable joining and participating in a team sport. It might be fear of public embarrassment, failure or letting their parents down that keep them from being an active member in a team sport.
If this is the case and your child resists participating in any sports activities for any of the above reasons, or maybe you don’t see team sports as a good fit for your child who has special needs. Whatever the reason, if you are looking for a positive alternative to team play, you might want to do consider adding martial arts such as Karate to your child’s after school activities.
Here are a few reasons that your child who hates sports will love martial arts:
As children become more proficient in their selected style of martial arts, their confidence gets a big-boost. They become more self-assured and confident. Their Professor’s (Teacher’s or Sensei’s depending on Martial Art style) encouragement goes a long way to help them achieve this goal, but the confidence level will extend far beyond the Academy (Martial Arts Studio).
- Belts and Ranking
Belts and rankings are a public recognition among peers for the student’s effort and progress. Martial Arts ranking system helps teach children to set goals and achieve them, to persevere and prioritize. Proceeding through the belts and ranks is also an encouragement for the kids that will enhance their confidence and self-esteem.
- Individual Achievement: No one sits on the Bench
Although there are many lessons to be learned from team and individual varsity sports, the ‘make the team’ model often favors the more physically developed players while alienating the late bloomers.
Coaches have access to an endless supply of players that renews itself each year, the big and strong get picked and get to play while the less physically developed watch from the bench, this leads to an even greater disparity in skill development as the season goes by.
At Martial Arts schools mats are packed while the benches are empty, all kids get equal ‘playing time’. Naturally some kids develop their skills and physical abilities earlier than others but we personally find that many kids who start out with underdeveloped athletic attributes such as strength, speed and size, end up blooming onto some of the finest technicians we have in all of our programs.
If your child is an athletic wonder who is able to stay ahead of the game with his natural talents, athletics may very well bring out the best in him or her. But if want your child’s full potential to be nurtured through years of disciplined and diligent training look for a martial art school who offers a serious program taught by world-class accredited instructor.
- Gender Equality
We are sure that while many parents would consider martial arts for their sons, not nearly as many would consider it for their daughters. However the martial arts are one of the few sports where both boys and girls can play together.
Martial Artist also gives brothers and sisters an opportunity to practice together and learn from one another as well (not to mention the convenience of having all of your kids in one place at a time).
- You can do it with them
Most martial arts schools offer classes for both adults and children. While classes do not run simultaneously, they are usually one right after the other. This means that you can watch your children workout, and then they can watch you.
If you have the proper space for it, you can practice with each other at home, and learn from one another. This will give you a special activity to use as a bonding tool with your kids. You can also become physically fit together.
- The Never-Ending Season
Many team sports, especially those primarily played outdoors, or in specific weather (think Soccer, Baseball and even wrestling) are seasonal. In Martial Arts we have classes year round. This consistency and availability also helps build upon discipline, and allows children to progress at a much quicker pace in the Martial Arts than in Team Sports.
If you are skeptical about making the long term commitment to a Martial Art for your child, visit a few schools but chances are you have a friend, or friend of a friend who is already enjoying the benefits and will be happy to guide you on your first steps.
Sensei Faramarz, Established Traditional Martial Arts & Fitness