As a volunteer coach for almost 10 years to youth team sports, I have seen many young kids come through the sports programs. Some kids are athletic and love sports. Others are the “non-sporty” kids. Here is my point of view as a youth coach of sports teams regarding kids quitting.
- If the child is miserable, let them quit. I think it is important for a child to try a sport, but if they don’t like it, they don’t like it. No amount of time will change it. In most cases, it’s the parent who signs their child up to play the sport, either because the parent was once “a great athlete” or the parent wants their child “to be active.” Trust me when I say that “non-sporty” kids usually don’t want to play sports.
- The coach is miserable. As a coach, it is not easy to teach a child a sport they do not like or know nothing about. It is challenging, and most of the time, impossible. Nothing irritates me more than when a parent tells me, “I just signed Johnny up because he needs to be active.” I want to scream, “Then go buy him a bike or buy him a puppy and take it on walks!” Team sports are not day care and coaches are not personal trainers. And 99.9% of youth coaches are volunteers, so kids who love the sport and want to be there are their motivation.
- The team is miserable. Kids know when someone doesn’t want to participate. That child is bringing the team down. The saying one bad apple spoils the basket applies to team sports. So what should a parent do who wants their child to be physically active in a sport or be a part of a team? There are team sports with individual competition: golf team, tennis team, bowling team, track and field team, and many more. The child will know both the fun and work ethic of a team sport while competing at his or her athletic ability.
In conclusion, I want to say that there is a time and a place to teach your child that quitting is not the best option. But when it comes to youth sports, especially youth team sports, it’s not the hill to die on.