I have never been a big sports fan. I’m much more likely to curl up with a good book than I am to head out and shoot hoops. This year my family threw me a curve ball as they all decided they wanted to play sports. I won’t lie. I was a little overwhelmed with the idea of introducing team sports in our family but it been awesome.
Introducing Team Sports
I want to share some of what I have learned as we have starting joining sports teams this year in case you are new to sports.
Know what kind of league you want.
Not all sports leagues are created equal. There are some leagues that are extremely competitive while others don’t even keep score. Depending on your stance on things like whether everyone gets a trophy and whether kids should get equal play time you may end up choosing a different type of league. Some leagues will have a more intense standard and be very cutthroat about their coaching and standards for your child. This is extremely important to consider as you plan for a sport.
Be prepared for the parents.
Some parents you meet at a practice or a game are wonderful people. They are kind and encouraging. You may even make a new friend. Other parents may not be as enjoyable. In fact, you might even meet some really difficult parents. I have encountered some parents who think their child is a future major league baseball player at 5 years old. Because they believe this way, the sidelines can be charged with some heavy attitudes pretty quickly. I have seen it get pretty fierce. Don’t be surprised if your sideline parents curse, bet on the game, or insult the kids. In some leagues, this is the normal.
Be prepared for extra expenses.
There are some leagues that are one flat fee. For many, this isn’t the case. You will pay for additional equipment, be expected to work concessions, pay for raffle drawings, buy snacks, and so much more. It is important to find out what these extra expenses will be so you can add them to your budget. It may help to ask one of the moms who has been in the league in the past as they will have a more realistic view of expenses.
Find out about time commitments.
Depending on the league you sign on with, you may spend a different amount of time on practices and games. It’s important to find out how frequently the team will practice as well as how often they will have games. Some leagues will give you a fixed schedule of games and practices. Others will have a very flexible schedule that changes from week to week. Knowing these time commitments will help you avoid burn out. When my son played baseball he practiced 3 nights a week and had 1 to 2 games a week. We lived at baseball for a long time there.
Be prepared to drive.
Depending on the league you choose, you may end up doing a lot of drive time. If you join a travel league expect to do a lot of driving. If your league doesn’t travel you may get to do less driving. You will also spend more time in the car if you have multiple children playing on different nights or at different times.
If you have multiple children playing…
Be prepared to live at the sports venue. some leagues will put the practice and game times on the same day but you will still have varied times. For our basketball season, one kid plays at 8 AM and the other plays at 11 AM. It means that our whole morning belongs to basketball. It isn’t bad but you definitely want to meal plan for these days. It doesn’t hurt to plan for these days. It doesn’t hurt to plan a picnic or throw a meal in the crock pot before you leave.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
The practice and game won’t be it. Expect to spend lots of extra time practicing on the off time to keep up with the team. The more competitive your team is, the more practice time will be expected to keep up. This is a great way to get kids active daily. However, it could mean more from you if you don’t have a basketball hoop or a yard to practice in.
It’s so fun!!
I had no idea how fun it would be to watch my kids play sports. They really play hard and make me proud. They also spend plenty of time helping me understand the game. I have loved watching key parts of their character shine thru as they play. If you want to know who a person is, watch them play competitive sports.
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