Growing up sports played a significant role in my childhood. I played everything I could get my hands one. I loved playing sports, and as I got older it would continue to play a definitive role in my life. I personally feel drawn to sports for a variety of reasons. While the competitive aspect to sports is a draw, it’s the relationships and lesson I learned during the process that have stuck with me. Soccer was my main sport growing up and I was fortunate to have played with the same group of friends from middle school through high school. It was a pivotal part in my life that helped shape my development as an athlete and as a human. It’s one reason why I feel youth sports is so important in the development of youth today.
As I grew up and had kids I’ve seen the importance of sports in different ways. Having two young boys, sports became a way that we could start to connect. I’ve tried to provide opportunities for my kids to explore and choose what they want. Having a 4 and 7-year-old they naturally have plenty of energy so sports was a natural way to harness that energy into something constructive. In the earlier years I would introduce different sports to them, but noticed natural struggles. What I noticed was that they could pick up different sports quicker than others. There are natural reasons for that, as catching a baseball with a glove requires more skill that kicking a ball.
At a young age I introduced them to Floorball and hockey. With Floorball the learning curve was shorter, and because of that they progressed quicker in their development. In a short amount of time they could do the most basic aspects of the sport effectively, and actively engage in playing. As they developed, their interest in the sport grew, and I would argue started to develop a love for the sport. My part in this development is to continue to provide opportunities for them to explore that as they grow.
I’ve seen this played out the last three years as I’ve offered instructional classes to kids in my area. There are families who regularly come back to my classes, and each time their child continues to improve. The response back from the parents is always positive. For some playing Floorball has been the first time their child had become interested in playing sports. It’s something their excited about and that above all else is the most important part. In a society right now where physical activity is in a constant struggle to stay at the fore front in people’s lives it is crucial that we continue to encourage kids to play.
Floorball is a simple game, and when broken down into its simplest form allows anyone the opportunity to play. This is what kids are looking for. They’re looking for things that will engage them, give them a chance to learn quickly, and a framework to grow and develop new skills. Sports give parents another option to potentially engage their children in simple play. This notion of play is what affects development. It doesn’t always need to be structured they just need opportunities to explore for themselves. As part of my mission I will continue to work to provide examples and opportunities for this to happen.