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What made me get involved in my child's sports

Updated on September 29, 2014
Haley getting ready for team picture 9/2013
Haley getting ready for team picture 9/2013

What a feeling!

One of the great joys in life is watching your kids play sports. Especially when they are young. The first time they put on their little uniform and you take, roughly, 500 pictures of them because you are so proud. I will never forget the feeling when my daughter, she was three at the time, put on her cleats and shinguards for the very first time. I had the biggest smile on my face and was already, in that specific moment, proud. Proud of what you ask? I am not even sure. Maybe it was just the thought that she is growing up and this was just a new stage in her life or because I am such a fan of sports and thinking about what could be if she stuck with the sport and became one of the best ever.

I had the opportunity this weekend to have that feeling all over again. My son, who is now three years old, was able to participate in soccer for the first time. There I was, big smile on my face and, like most parents at that age, I wanted to be involved.

My son Dylan before his first game
My son Dylan before his first game

The Itch

When my daughter turned three we signed her up for i9 sports near our house in Saint Augustine. If you are not familiar with i9, the way it works with our program is there is a main coach who does the teaching session for the first 30 minutes. During this, the assistants help coach/explain what the main coach's focus is for the day. I try to make everything a game for them and have them chase me during ball drills to get used to running with the ball.

Before the above format, they actually assigned specific coaches and you were told by that coach to meet 30 minutes prior to the game starting and then they would play an hour game.

During that first season, the 'coach' we had did not really show up for the 30 minutes of practice and ended up being barely on time for games. I know, I asked myself the same question, "Why would you sign up for something that you were not going to do? This is not a gym membership!"

I ended up taking over and helping out for the 30 minute practice before hand and that got me wanting to be involved more.

After that, I ended up signing up as the coach so I could be more hands on with my daughter's development. Also, I wanted to make sure the team was learning but at the same time having fun. At that age, it is about that...not winning. Teaching them to be around other children and most of all that playing sports with other kids is REALLY fun.

From that moment on, I made sure I was always involved.


At this time, helping out coaching my daughter's team has been very exciting. At 6 years old, this where they really start developing the idea of team and showing skills that they are good at. Some are fast but not with the ball, Some are great with the ball but just have a tough time being in the correct spot. The biggest issue, still, at this age is keeping their attention.

I had to coach a practice session by myself this past week and keeping their attention was the most difficult. You can play skill building games with them but their attention span goes away quickly. Keeping them involved at all times is the key and then making sure they have a say in what they do is helpful as well.

With my son, he is 3 years old, he is just starting the soccer experience and it really is fun. I help out as an 'assistant coach' with the i9 program again. Again, the first 30 minutes is practice in which we go over the main coach's teaching plan.

The next 30 minutes is game play. We split off to two fields and play 3 on 3 (6 kids a side) so they can get practical application of what they just learned. At three years old, what you really learn is who is shy and who is not. Not much coaching, in my opinion. You are working with learning each child's trigger to get them moving. A great learning experience

Below is a video of my son's first goal. You will see what I mean by seeing who is shy.

Dylan's First Goal

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Keep it up

I can't wait for the next five years in my children's life, athletically speaking.

Dylan will grow into the sport and, hopefully, branch off and play other sports as well. I would really like to get him involved in flag football and baseball (t-ball). He really is up for anything as long as he can run around.

Haley, on the other hand, is my shy one. She is content with soccer (and she is pretty good) and is not ready to try other sports. In the next five years, she will grow and look to newer things as she is really into drawing and reading but I do hope she keeps up with sports.

I will do what I can to ensure my kids continue to play sports. I think it is important to get the competitive spirit going for them early so that they continue to grow as a person.

I would offer this one advice to all parents...get your kids involved in sports. Get them involved and watch them grow and, at the same time, get yourself involved. I look at it as having a workout buddy for the gym. When it is just you going to workout, sometimes it is very easy to say, "not today." With a workout buddy, you are accountable to that other person.

Same with getting involved in your child's sports. They see you making the effort to be there and they want to be there that much more since you are involved. Plus, at these ages, they think it is you can be a cool for a couple of years, right?


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