Un-Sporty Sports Dad to the Rescue!

You’re not good at sports, but your kids like playing them, so bridge the gap!

not good at sports, but your kids like sports. What do you do?
not good at sports, but your kids like sports. What do you do?.

Remember back in grade school when you were the last person picked for the kickball or the dodgeball team when you wanted to play a game during recess? As you grew up, sports was a side note in your life as you were much more focused on the arts, music, sciences, history, books, or something else. You weren’t the typical jock.  

Now, fast forward 30 years. You have kids who love sports and now you have to teach them how to hit a baseball, throw a football, kick a soccer ball, and dribble a basketball.

But here’s the catch, you have no lateral dexterity, you have two left feet, and you throw like a girl (not all girls throw like girls or punch like girls – just ask Ronda Rousey). Moving on, what do you do?

You could hire an experienced teacher to give your kid lessons. But in this day and age with high insurance premiums, property taxes, and all sorts of different costs that most adults are saddled with, spending $100 per week, per kid, per sport could potentially be a wallet buster. If you can’t justify or afford the extra expense, what do you do? 

There are lots of things you can do. You can use this as a priceless opportunity to bond with your kid by learning the sport together. Give it the good ol’ college try and teach yourself with practice and repetition. You can make light of the situation and say, “Daddy doesn’t know how to do this, but guess what? We’re going to go through it together.”  

Half of “doing something” is accomplished just by showing up to put in the work, and “getting good at something” is accomplished by repetition.  To become a master at something, you have to do perfect reps over and over again until it becomes automatic, natural, and you commit the movements to muscle memory.

  It’s like teaching your muscles the language of perfect balance and reaction through automated stimulation response. 

Imagine you’re running as fast as you can, leaping through the air, fully extending your arms and legs out to rip the football from the air with your fingertips as it’s flying 60 miles per hour. You pull it in and immediately brace your body for impact as you prepare yourself to crash to the ground and likely get pummeled by another large human being running full-speed directly at you. Your response is natural, you don’t think about it and you don’t even have time to. Just like a cat who sees a mouse and instantly runs after it, your body knows what it has to do and it just does it. Nature tells you to “go get it.”

However, if you just perform the movements over again enough times to familiarize yourself with how to throw and catch ball, you’ll become good at it. It’s not rocket science or a fairly complex concept; it’s just a matter of showing up and genuinely trying your best so you and your kid can grow together. 

Another option is to watch videos on Youtube, which is an amazing online resource for learning new skills. You can find a variety of videos to teach you the proper body movements and mechanics of hitting a baseball, shooting a 3-pointer or a foul shot, kicking a ball, and learning how to stabilize yourself.

   You’ll also learn how to avoid common pitfalls by listening to other people’s experiences. When a fast-pitch baseball is menacingly coming at you at 90 miles an hour and it might curve, drop and dip, you need to foresee the ball’s exact trajectory so you can move your body in a way to react immediately and fully explode on that ball. There are numerous online resources which can help teach you basic skills using a visual aspect, which are better than the books we had in the past using small stationary images of step 1, step 2, and step 3 to teach dynamic movements.

You could also seek the advice of a local coach as he’s probably been in your situation before with his own kids.

Just tell him that your kid wants to be on the team next year but you’re not experienced with the sport. Ask if your kids can get together and just practice to get better together. It’s always a great idea to set up a get-together with your kid and his or her friends who have experience with the sport.  Perhaps the coach also knows of an after school group that your kid can join to practice with other kids of the same age and experience. 

Teaching sports to your kids just takes a little time and a genuine interest to connect and bond with them. It gives you the opportunity to show your kids firsthand how dedication, repetition, practice, knowledge, and perseverance are the key ingredients to mastery. In a day and age where work and other daily obligations easily consume all our free time, it’s important to make time for our kids to show them how much we care about the things that matter to them.   


A Wise Investment: Benefits from Families Spending Time Together. The Heritage Foundation. Web. 28 Jan 2016. 

Bonding With Your Child. Family Lives. Web. 28 Jan 2016.

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