It is no secret that kids today are ensconced in the digital world. Whether it is due to their video games, mobile apps, TV shows or devices, coercing kids to play outside is becoming harder and harder.
The more the market for digital devices grows, the more distracted children, of all ages, become. The initiative to play outside and stay active is harder to maintain.
Thus, it is even more important to explore new strategies to motivate your children to get involved in team sports.
While baseball is a great option for a team sport because of its tremendous mental, physical and social health benefits, it is a considerably slower game compared to hockey, soccer, lacrosse and other team sports.
Thus, encouraging children, especially those with lots of energy, can be even more difficult. However, what baseball arguably lacks in its pace, it more than makes up for with accessibility and a rich history.
Size Doesn’t Matter
Unlike football or basketball where size and height are required attributes, baseball players, even at the professional level, are closer to average sized. While power is an important trait to a ball player, hand-eye coordination is even more vital.
If your child is smaller than most of their classmates, baseball might offer a more level playing field for them, compared to physical, contact sports.
A great motivator for getting kids interested in playing a sport is letting them see it played on a professional level. Thanks to baseball’s vast pool of minor league teams, there is likely a pro-level team near or in your area.
Minor league games are much more affordable and often put on theme nights and other fun and kid-friendly events that can help increase a child’s enthusiasm about the sport.
If there are no local minor league teams, or tickets are too expensive, even allowing your child to see a game at a local high school or college is enough to help encourage them to play the sport.
It allows them to see up close what the game looks like when professional athletes play it on a big field.
Even watching professional games on TV can have an immensely positive effect on encouraging a child to play baseball.
It allows them to acquire favorite players and teams, learn the rules better and study pitching and hitting mechanics.
Children especially like to imitate what they see; little leaguers are often copying batting styles and other theatrics made famous by their favorite players.
The more exposed they are to baseball, the greater their interest in it will become.
Easy to Practice
Many team sports, such as hockey, basketball, football and lacrosse, revolve around practicing and learning different plays and formations.
Baseball, however, has no use for formations and is really a series of singular one-on-one events: pitcher versus batter, fielders versus runner(s) etc.
Thus, you do not need a lot of people or equipment to practice. Even a simple game of catch in the backyard helps sharpen the hand-eye coordination and requires only two people.
Continuously practicing any sports allows your child to gain confidence and want to continue playing and be more involved on the team.
If you make the effort to have a catch after work, take your child to the batting cages or bring him or her to the local park for some fielding practice, then the more motivated they will be to want to practice on their own or with friends and the more.
If your son or daughter is already on a little league or other local, organized team, try to identify the team leaders. Any organized team has a select couple of individuals that everyone else on the squad looks up to.
These leaders may be the best players on the team or just highly motivated teammates that are great at boosting the team’s morale. Children are especially impressionable by these premier teammates and inviting them over for a play-date or dinner is another great motivator.
Not only does this give your child a friend to practice with, but this teammate can share why they love baseball with your child and possibly invigorate them to adopt the same feelings towards the sport.
Being healthy and active is important at a young age, but unfortunately, many children choose to look at a screen instead of a ball, which can make it difficult to convince them to participate in a team sport, such as baseball.
The best strategy to encourage your son or daughter to pick up a bat and a ball is simply exposing them to the sport. Remember, you are their biggest role model. If you show an interest or passion for baseball, they will too.
By having a catch with your son or daughter, taking them to a game or even watching games on TV, you increase their exposure, while demonstrating your own interest in baseball.
You’ll be surprised at how quickly they’ll adopt their own favorite players and begin copying their batting stance at practice.