Thursday, January 5, 2012

Youth Sports...Happy Fun Good Times..Maybe

Yes she was that stinkin' cute
B-Ball First Grade
This time of year brings squeals of joy to Bean and dread to me and the Hubs, why you might ask? Basketball season starts next week.  The idea of a child participating in a sport is a wonderful thing, it is active, social, teaches team building; to be honest I believe all kids should participate in some type of team sport at least once.

So why then would I a proponent of team sports dread by wonderful Bean playing a little ball?  She doesn't practice outside of team practice, which is once a week and only starts two weeks before the season starts. She has a ball, we ask her at least every other week or so and have for years, do you want to go play some basketball.  We have a hoop in the yard, there is a hoop across the street and there is a hoop at her school a short bike ride away, but Bean never goes out and messes around with the ball.  We have been to a few Boise State Women's basketball games, she really enjoyed herself, but it didn't make her practice.  Why do I care whether she practices or not, it isn't any skin off my nose right?

I care for two reasons, I don't want to see all the pouting when she starts sitting the bench because she isn't as good as her team mates and she has a commitment to her team to try her best. Lets talk the first issue I have, Bean sitting the bench.  I honestly believe that until she sits the bench for most of a season she won't connect that she needs to practice if she really wants to play.  We are in an everybody plays sort of league and though Bean has usually played a fair amount, she is tall enough to get the play time, it isn't like she is making plays out on the court. In third grade basketball I am expecting a more competitive environment and Bean will suddenly be on the bench because you need to be in the game to play.  Sitting the bench will cause Bean to complain to me, eventually, that she isn't playing enough;  my response to this will be, practice more and you will play more.      Some kids just pick up this lesson, Bean is going to have to learn it the hard way, and sitting the bench and watching her frustration with that is not going to be fun.

The second issue with her lack of motivation to practice is that she has a commitment to her team. As a team member and someone who wants to play and be a good team member there is an expectation that she will bring her best to her team. In my mind bringing your best means that you practice, that you try your best. I am not asking for an hour every night or anything; maybe shooting baskets one other time a week outside of practice or playing a little basketball with dad.  When you are a member of a team, any team, you are expected to come prepared and how prepared can Bean be if she just practices with her team once a week and that is all she puts into it.  I am not sure if this is a crazy ex-team player in me or not, but being a good team mate, even at 9 isn't just showing up and cheering, or for Bean is it?

For the last year or so Hubs and I thought her desire to play basketball was motivated by the social and game play aspects of the sport, and it may still be, but she swears she loves the game.  We will see this season whether Bean plays for the game or so she can be social with a bunch of other girls her age. Lets hope there isn't a lot of pouting along with all the cheering.

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