5 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Sport for Your Child

Knowing the mistakes to avoid when choosing a sport for your child is fundamental for a number of reasons. Discover what you need to know.
5 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Sport for Your Child
Andrés Felipe Cardona Lenis

Reviewed and approved by degree in physical education and sports Andrés Felipe Cardona Lenis.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

There are many mistakes that can be made when choosing a sport for a child. Parents tend to get carried away by passion or by their own tastes and try to motivate their children to also want to practice sports.

However, it’s important to understand that childhood is one of the most important stages of life, and during this period, character is built and the main personality traits   are defined.

Among these aspects, tastes stand out, which make children lean towards certain activities and discard others. The same happens with the choice of sports, and this is completely valid. After all, the best sport is the one that’s practiced with desire and that’s truly enjoyed.

Here are the most common mistakes you should avoid when choosing a sport for your child.

Mistakes you shouldn’t make when choosing a sport for your child

Making mistakes with children is normal, especially when it comes to the firstborn. Parenting and teaching-learning processes require experience and mistakes offer us new knowledge.

However, there are some mistakes that should be avoided at all costs, especially when they’re related to the choice of sports for the little ones. We’ll tell you about them in detail.

1. Judging your child by their choices

A soccer coach holding a ball and pointing at the camera.
Parents’ tastes shouldn’t be the yardstick by which children’s choices are measured. Try to understand your child and encourage them to make their own choices with conviction.

One of the main mistakes to avoid when choosing a sport for your child is to judge them. This is a common mistake that not only conditions the child’s choices, but also has an impact on their emotional sphere.

A clear example of this is found in conservative homes, where children are often singled out according to their choices. If a boy is inclined to practice a ‘feminine’ sport, he’s likely to be criticized and limited in his possibilities to do so. The same can be true when a girl chooses to participate in sports that are traditionally considered masculine.

2. Overlooking your child’s likes and dislikes

Children’s likes and dislikes are one of the most important aspects of their lives and from a young age, they’re able to express what they want to do and what they don’t.

However, it’s common for parents to overlook their children’s likes and disregard their children’s feelings on more than one occasion. Therefore, try to understand that children’s genuine interests have an impact on their development. And also, keep in mind that these choices can change drastically over time.

The main objective isn’t to overlook the tastes of the little ones or to force them to choose something for our convenience and to accompany them in their choices and in their changes.

3. Taking advantage of their friends’ motivation to try to convince them to follow them

Most children excel at being sociable and are likely to have friends everywhere. Within that group, more than one will be involved in a sport, and some of these practices are likely to be to your child’s liking. However, don’t try to force your child to do them just because their friend does.

The fact that a peer does it will probably motivate them to at least give it a try. But the decision to do so should be completely autonomous, free of any coercion on your part.

4. Finding a profitable alternative in sports

Although it may seem exaggerated or out of touch with reality, many parents see in their children an opportunity to do business. Therefore, they try to exploit their qualities and force them to practice a specific sport from an early age. But not for healthy purposes, but for economic gain in the future.

Beyond being a mistake, this action lacks morals. Needless to say, your child shouldn’t practice a ‘profitable’ sport if they don’t want to and much less, be treated as a financial solution. Beware of this!

5. Forcing your child to practice a sport

Among the mistakes you should avoid, obligation is the most important. Not only when choosing a sport, but any type of activity.

An obligated child has a high probability of becoming a frustrated and unhappy adult. Remember that children should have fun and enjoy what they do for the sake of their physical and psychological development.

An angry child sitting on a soccer ball on a soccer field.
Don’t force your children to practice a sport that’s not to their liking because, in the end, you’ll make them feel rejection toward this and other similar activities.

Avoid mistakes, become their guide

As parents, our fundamental role when choosing a sport or any activity for our child is to be their guide. It’s not a question of knowing everything, but of giving them the motivation and constant accompaniment they need.

Nor is it a question of taking away limits or autonomy, but of teaching them to participate in their life choices. And in the case of sports activities, to choose the one that suits their tastes and the possibilities of their family.

Last but not least, try to work together with the coach so that your child feels comfortable and learns the skill little by little.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.