Parents want their kids to have an active and healthy lifestyle and many enroll them in team sports hoping to help them develop healthy lifelong habits and a love for physical activity. While there are many benefits to team sports, they aren’t always the best fit. Individual sports can be a great alternative to playing on a team especially for kids who have ADHD, sensory processing disorder or socialization disorders. Individual sports help kids stay active while building self-esteem and focus. They also learn to set personal goals and have the opportunity to work one-on-one with the coach. Here are some great individual sports to try and the benefits your child can gain by participating in each of them.
Hand-eye coordination, speed, agility, gross and fine motor skills and strong cardiovascular exercise makes tennis a great option for kids who like to keep moving, are quick on their feet and want the individual attention that comes from one-on-one coaching. Mental health benefits are also important.
Kids who want to learn discipline, respect for others and themselves, balance and coordination and self-control, and work on their listening and focusing skills, should consider trying martial arts. This can also become a family sport as all ages are welcome in this activity. And it can offer benefits for kids who learn and think differently.
Gymnasts are known for their strength, coordination, flexibility and discipline. Your child may never become an Olympic gymnast, but the confidence and agility they will learn from participating in gymnastics will stick with them.
Swimming is a great source of cardiovascular exercise. It also promotes strength, stamina, balance and better posture and teaches water safety. Swimming, like martial arts, is a sport for all ages. A love of a sport like swimming can turn into a lifetime source of exercise and enjoyment.
While running sports typically start in late elementary school or middle school, it is never too early or late to enjoy. Besides a great cardio workout, running helps develop physical, mental and personal development as kids overcome challenges and set new goals in distance or time.
If none of the above sports are of interest, you may also want to research fencing, wrestling, cycling, dance, diving or golf. Many of these sports allow kids to compete on an individual basis while contributing overall to a team. For example, kids competing in gymnastics will receive an individual score but the points go to an overall total for the team. This gives kids the support from teammates without the pressure of having to play on a team. Kids will learn to set and exceed their personal goals and also have the camaraderie that goes along with a team sport. If you notice your child is feeling pressure or frustration from participating in team sports, give an individual sport a try.
Check out Washington Parent’s annual STEAM & Enrichment Guide for local sports activities and more!