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  1. #1
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    Team Sports for Kids of Mountain Bikers?!

    The other ladies in the neighborhood have been pressuring my wife to enroll our daughter in team sports. Is it only me or do most mountain bikers have no interest in sports that require you to chase a ball? I'd prefer that my daughter participate in individual sports like gymnastics, skiing, track and field and any other sport with wheels. Is it just me? Does anyone have experience with the advantages of either type in a child's development?

  2. #2
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    I personally have always been an individual sports person and didn't grow up doing much in the way of ball chasing team sports. My wife on the other hand did. Our oldest skiis, bikes, does competitive dance but also has played soccer soccer since she was 4. Over the last couple of years I have really seen her grow on the field, bond with her team and take on a pseudo leadership role during the game- something her coaches love. I think it has been really good for her in many ways so I wouldn't rule it out. Give it a shot and let her make the decision if it's something she wants to continue doing...

  3. #3
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    Reputation: Harold's Avatar
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    as already said, team sports for kids are more about social development than chasing a ball.

    I played soccer from about 5 to 17, and have played in the occasional rec league and pickup games in the years since even though I spend more time mountain biking these days.

    I'd say get the kids started in both team sports and individual sports. That way, they can make the choice (or not) to pursue one over the other. I'd hedge my bets that they'll wind up doing both for a very long time.

  4. #4
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    + 1...both are important, IMO.

    Learning to work with people is important. Learning to work with people who are better at something than you, learning to work with people who don't make a good effort at things, working with a group towards a common goal, etc etc -- important life skills.

    I grew up doing both individual and team sports. And always loved both. To me, one of the most important things I see with individual sports (besides freedom, as that is what skiing and biking is to me) is that you can continue doing them throughout most of your life, God willing. At some point, football, baseball and track and field aren't really an option. Evidently I am at that point. But I still ski and bike pretty much every day that I can.

  5. #5
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    sign her up for cross country. that is what got me into mountain biking. had a fun time and great group of people. also helped me complete a half marathon.

  6. #6
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    Any sport or activity is a great idea. I typically prefer solo sports, but I had a blast playing team sports as a kid and stuck with it through high school and I will do everything I can to support my kids playing sports growing up. Some of my best friends came from the bonds that were formed playing sports.

    I would encourage anything outdoors because it is all better than sitting in front of the TV all day posting status updates on facebook about who should win Dancing with the Stars.

  7. #7
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    I was always an individual sports kid- gymnastics, fencing, then cycling and cross country. I tried baseball and soccer, but they weren't for me. Ultimate frisbee is a lot of fun though, and the same kind of crowd as cycling.

  8. #8
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    My boy is in Judo. Does very well for just 7 months into it. I prefer him to do solo sports than teams. With a solo sport, you have no one else to blame on when you lose except yourself. You also don't have to depend on others in order to play/compete.

  9. #9
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    I was in wrestling / football growing up. Two completely different experiences that both gave me something that made me better at the other.

    Football taught me how to think as a group, work as a group, live as a group, and fail as a group. It made me stronger, knowing that the others counted on me to play my position.

    Wrestling taught me how to truly own my self. The physical strength was but a small part of the grand scheme of things. I was truly responsible for my self on the mat. You can tell quickly who works the hardest.

  10. #10
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    Lots of good advice so far. You asked if anyone has experience in the advantages related to development and I can chime in there as a Recreation Director and Certified Youth Sports Administrator. Some of the advantages specific to team sports are: Social skills, respect, conflict resolution, communication, teamwork, leadership, etc. Obviously, there are many other advantages of youth sports applicable to both team and individual sports such as fun, self-confidence, self-esteem, fitness, discipline, motivation, commitment, etc, etc, etc.

    The best we can do for our kids is to give them the tools and experiences they need to find their own path. That said, it is important to expose them to a variety of activities and not push them towards things simply beacuse we enjoy them. I grew up participating in both team and individual sports (still do) and wouldn't trade my experiences for anything.

    Good luck and remember....it's all about having FUN!

  11. #11
    That Waters Guy
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    You didn't say how old, but I know a lot of Ultimate Frisbee players who mountain bike. Really the necessary coordination isn't there until junior high, though.

  12. #12
    meow meow
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    as already said, team sports for kids are more about social development than chasing a ball.
    exactly. team sports for kids arnt about winning or being the best. its about the life skills learned, teamwork, sharing, handling loss, determination, ect.

    also there is nothing better than soccer to form a good athletic base.

  13. #13
    It's about showing up.
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    I was very good at ball sports and it effected the way I was treated by my peers.

    I was a pretty good swimmer and runner, too. As an adult there was not time for team sports but running and swimming fit. Then I discovered cycling. With good lungs and legs, eye/hand co-ordination and balance I picked it up pretty quickly in my mid-thirties. Like swimming and running it is done for my own reasons. Yet, again, it effects the way I am treated by my peers though now it effects my presence and role in the community.

  14. #14
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    How old is your daughter? Does *she* have any interest in team sports?

  15. #15
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    I am a proponent of trying as many things as budgetarily reasonable throughout the years. I played everything from soccer, baseball, swimming, fencing, lacrosse, golf, etc to skateboarding, BMX, snowboarding, etc. I eventually fell into track and field and got myself a scholarship for pole vaulting to a D1 powerhouse. I wouldn't have achieved what I have in pole vault without first doing all of those other sports. I'm also so happy my parents didn't try to groom me into their preferred activities. I would have been miserable. Through playing all of the team sports, I realized that they weren't for me. I was always drawn to the individual challenge sports and excelled therein because I liked relying on myself to win.

    I say let your daughter try some stuff out. Like others have said, at the youngest ages of sport, the experience is as much or more about socialization than the sport itself. I am a HUGE fan of fostering the innate competitive spirit. Some folks find it through sport, others through school, art or otherwise, but everybody's got it and I like to promote it.

    Good luck with figuring it all out!

  16. #16
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    Thanks for all the fantastic feedback. My daughter is 5 and is currently in gymnastics. I have bought her every type of kids vehicle known and she want's no part of it. It's unfortunate as I really wanted her to enjoy cycling. The neighbor kids love it because they inherit her brand new bikes.

    She does seem to enjoy gymnastics so I'll stick that out for a year. I never considered her for team sports, but due to the feedback here, I'd be doing her a disservice. I'll give soccer a try next and probably dance as she seems to love it. It's amazing how skilled 5 year olds can get by doing something they enjoy.

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