Teens: How to Pick a Sport That Fits Your STYLE

Sep 9th, 2012 | By | Category: Activities for Homeschooled Kids, Featured Articles

The world of competitive sports can be something like a wild and untamed jungle for teens. Do you, don’t you? Can you – or will you just look like a wannabe dork? Will you fail, will you succeed, will you be laughed at, or will you have fun? It’s a hard decision with a lot of variables – especially if you are homeschooled and a bit unsure of what your options really are. Taking the plunge without a bevy of classmates behind you can be intimidating.

Let’s consider a few factors:

  1. Do you think sports are fun? Above all, your sport of choice should be enjoyable. If the thought of practice causes a feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach, it’s probably not the right choice for you.
  2. What’s your athletic ability? God made us all different, so don’t be hard on yourself if you are not a natural at something. And remember that in some ways, sports ARE a lot like academics, they take time and effort to master, and each skill level builds upon a previous one.
  3. Do you like being part of a team? It can be a great and positive feeling to be part of a group working toward a common goal. It can also be intimidating if you let your teammates down – although realistically, that happens to every single team member at some point; so it’s expected. But some kids just outright dread being involved with a team. It doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. See below.
  4. Do you prefer to participate in individual sports? Running, skiing, horseback riding, hiking, biking, kayaking, etc. are all WONDERFUL ways to take care of our bodies, and increase our athletic skills, without the pressure of being on a team – and all while on our own schedules.
  5. Is your computer your best friend? This is becoming a trend with the rapid rise of technology. The digital age is fascinating, fun, and lightning speed/cutting edge for teens. HOWEVER, you must take care of your body so that your brain is as agile as it can be. Learning to exercise, and even enjoy it, is truly essential to healthy living – and not just a mantra your nagging parental unit recites incessantly. The time is now to “educate your body” on its potential. So cowboy up.
  6. How much extra time do you have available? Some sports are hugely time consuming – for instance baseball, gymnastics, football – all require long vigorous practices, and generally ask for a big time commitment. Don’t bite off more than you can chew!
  7. Is participating in a school district sport an option? If it is, and you are afraid of not making the “cut”, you can try out initially for the swim & dive or track & field/cross country teams. They are generally “no-cut”, each of them has some ‘easier’ events available that beginners can complete in, and it’s easy to understand the rules.

The most important thing you should take from this article is that you should not give up on any sport you pick without a good solid try. The first time I attempted skiing, I found myself lying alongside the T-lift like a pitifully beached whale, legs twisted, unable to even stand. Each time I tried, I fell off the lift in a heap before I could even get to the top. Other kids continued to pass, looking down on me with pity or amusement. Was I completely humiliated? YES. Did I want to go back? NO. I did, in fact, go back (mostly because 6 passes were paid for, I admit), but amazingly, at one point – I could suddenly ski. Because I just kept on trying. And amazingly – skiing was FUN and EXHILERATING. I continued to ski for years, bonding with others who liked to ski as well, far into adulthood.

Be honest with yourself about your goals and what you feel your capabilities are. With the homeschool movement expanding so rapidly in recent years, the options available to you may be more than you realize. Sports can be a way to round out your education by treating your body with positive energy – and even enhance your mental capacity while doing so!


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