Other than getting right out there to try it, the best way for a kid to learn a new sport is to watch other kids playing that same sport. I like this because it not only makes a kid a fan of the sport and helps them get role models, who may or may not be older than they are, but it also allows the kid to sit with parents or coaches and ask a lot of question. What was that referees call? How come the ball went in the other direction? I heard a horn, why? Why does the team all have matching socks? So, when my daughter’s soccer call called out for some of the U10 girls travel team to be ball girls at the Varsity Girls senior night soccer game under the lights, I jumped at the opportunity to have my daughter participate. Nevermind that she really just started playing soccer six months ago or that she doesn’t know all of the rules nor had ever been a ball girl before. She is usually up for a challenge. Mind you, this is my daughter who quit soccer in kindergarten because she was too shy to go onto the field. And now I was setting her up to own half a soccer field sidelines all on her own at a big game under the lights (where I would only be able to watch from a distance). We watched a German Leverkusen soccer game that day just to be certain that she knew what to do. Watch whose ball goes out and throw to the other team. Pay attention to if it is a corner kick or a goal kick or a throw in, and immediately give the ball to the person who will be kicking/throwing so as to not slow down play. My daughter took it all in stride, dressed warmly, put on her soccer tshirt, and gave it her all. I was very proud of her. She did great. A few unique situations presented some challenges (like how to run all the way to the far end of the field and still get back in time for another throw in if needed). The coolest part was that she had fun and asked all sorts of more questions after the fact. And the next practice back after the game, she was so much more confident in both her friendships and her abilities (knowledge too) of the sport of soccer!
Visit us at www.besporthappy.com for more info on the 35 sports available for kids in Saratoga ages 3-13. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/besporthappy or join our Be Sport Happy Saratoga Equipment Exchange group on Facebook and exchange used sports equipment with other Saratoga families: www.facebook.com/groups/besporthappy. Also find us at www.healtheconcessions.com and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/healtheconcessions.