Teens can choose from a variety of sports.

Good Sports for Teens to Start Playing

by Kathy Gleason

Teen sports are a good way for your child to stay fit, make new friends and learn valuable lessons about working together toward a common goal. If your teen is considering joining a sport and has asked your advise on choosing one, keep a few issues in mind. Your child should choose her own sport -- just because you were a basketball player in high school doesn't mean you should push your daughter down the same path.

1. Consider Your Teen's Personality

Think about what kind of personality your teen has. Some teens do well in group activities while others prefer activities that are more independent, according to AboutOurKids.org. While you might think joining a team sport would help your introvert teen become more social, it might be something he would come to dread. Even though you might be right that it would be good for him, it doesn't mean that he would enjoy it or stick with it.

2. Group-oriented Sports

For teens who like being part of a group that succeeds or fails together, certain sports are better. KidsHealth suggests soccer, softball or basketball as good sports for teens. Teens can also consider field hockey or ice hockey, depending on the season and where you live. Other options include volleyball and football. Remind your teen to take into account how much time the sport he is considering will take up and what the team commitments are.

3. More Individualized Sports

Kids who enjoy independent activities might prefer a sport that can either be done entirely on their own, or as part of a team but with more emphasis on the individual performance, such as the swim or tennis teams. Options include karate, dance, horseback riding and long-distance running, or track and field. Teens can also consider skiing or snowboarding, golf or ice skating.

4. Give Your Teen Support

Encourage your teen in whatever sport he chooses. Remember this is about your child, not about you, so don't compare his performance with your own in your heyday, either in a positive or negative way. There's no need to make statements such as, “Wow, the athlete genes just do not run in our family!” Be interested in what is going on with your teen, attend games or meets and be encouraging. Remember that it's just a game and it's meant to be fun for your teen.

About the Author

Kathy Gleason is a freelance writer living in rural northern New Jersey who has been writing professionally since 2010. She is a graduate of The Institute for Therapeutic Massage in Pompton Lakes, N.J. Before leaving her massage therapy career to start a family, Gleason specialized in Swedish style, pregnancy and sports massage.

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