Take a Kid Bowling
Bowling is a winter sport usually starting in September and going through April or May. A great winter sport that teaches consistency and patience. Bowling is a sport that is, if bowling on a league, a team sport that is good for children because it teaches them to be good sports and to learn to support others team members. It looks like a fairly easy sport but looks can be deceiving. A bowling ball and a pair of bowling shoes and you are ready to get started bowling. All bowling alleys have shoes for rent and a variety of bowling balls that you can use. Bowling balls come in many weights from 3 pounds to 16 pounds. There are also a few different types of grips that are available from a full finger grip to a fingertip grip. The best grip for young children especially those that are new to the sport is a full fingertip grip. If your child is interested in the sport take them open bowling a few times to see how they like it. For very young bowlers most bowling alleys also have an apparatus that closes off the gutters ensuring that your child will hit some pins down. I have run and coached kids bowling for about 5 years and have found that for new young bowlers the most important thing for them is to knock down the bowling pins.
What to Teach Your Child About Bowling
When dealing with little kids and bowling my best advice after years of coaching is keep it simple. The child just wants to knock down some pins. Bowling entails many different steps or actions to best knock pins down but for a child it's often way to much information. Many times when I noticed a kid having trouble just throwing the ball in a manner that will give them half a chance to knock down some pins, I first just show them how to very generally throw a bowling ball. Now some of the problems a kid can have throwing a ball is that it's just to heavy. Get the smallest ball possible for a new bowler if that bowler is very young. A 3 pound ball is the lowest you can go,but most bowling alleys have balls starting at 6 pounds, so I would suggest that weight. I often would take the young bowler on the carpet, not on the bowling lane just to give them a genera idea of how a bowling ball is supposed to be thrown. Start with just a simple 4 steps and a release of the ball. A great way for parents to help their child is with a pair of rolled up socks. I have suggested this to parents more times then I can count. At home with the rolled up pair of socks just have your child practice the throwing motion. It is a simple pendulum action of bringing the straight arm back behind and to the side of the body and then forward and release. Using a pair of rolled up socks gives your child the idea of a ball in their hand and prevents them from breaking something in your house while they are trying to throw the ball. As I said before there are many steps in bowling correctly but a child can only handle and master one step at a time. They will get frustrated at times with the game of bowling but if they truly enjoy the sport they will try to try again.
How to Act As A Parent
If after some time bowling, you child may want to join a league. Most bowling alleys have a kids league usually on Saturday morning. This is where they learn team work, patience and consistency. The adults running the league and most importantly the parents can make the whole bowling experience wonderful for a child. A parent should always stay to watch their child bowl. This is huge for the child. I have seen so many parents drop their kids off at the bowling alley and leave like it's a baby sitting service and never ever watch their kids bowl. Kids love attention and praise from their parents and it goes a long way for the child's self esteem. When I was coaching kids bowling I would always give the kid who's parent was not there just a bit more attention than the kids who's parents were in attendance. I mostly coached kids from age 4 to 14, and just a bit of clapping and back patting were all most kids needed to be proud of themselves. I no longer coach but I still see some of " my kids" from time to time and they and I as well are always happy to see each other. So if your child is interested in bowling consider a bowling league for them. You will be glad you did especially when you see that big smile on their faces when they throw their first strike.
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