#1 Reason Kids Play Sports: To Form Friendships


#1 Reason Kids Play Sports: To Form Friendships

by Dennis A. Johnson, EdD

Although the number one reason kids play sports both in and out of school is to have fun, the concept of making new friends and/or being a part of a team is consistently listed as one of the top ten reasons why they participate when surveyed (1). When pressed further as to what constitutes fun, children often indicate that being with friends is part of the fun. Thus, wrestling coaches and program administrators should promote having fun and foster the development of friendships within their programs.

I believe that the first ingredient to fostering lasting friendships from wrestling is to create a positive environment in the practice setting. I have suggested in the past that we in wrestling create a “we build up-not tear” down atmosphere. And coaches must be intentional and actually have children practice being positive and giving positive comments. Coaches might foster this environment by having wrestlers sit in small circles at the end of practice and encourage them to share their thoughts on someone in which they saw doing a good job that day. For instance, “Johnny really hit a nice single leg on me” or I saw Jimmy tell Sam that he gave good effort. This is an example of an intentional effort to foster a positive atmosphere that may result in forming friendships

Additionally coaches might create a big brother program. This is where older wrestlers are assigned to the younger wrestlers to help them get acclimated to the wrestling environment. The older wrestler can show where they go for practice, where to go for the bathroom, and so on.

In any event the coach should work to assure that there is absolutely no hazing or bulling occurring in the wrestling room.

Check out the NWCA Youth Coaching Manual as it contains more discussions on creating a positive climate for wrestlers for the youth setting.

“Find a way and make it happen”….dj

Ewing, M., & Seefeldt, V. (1989). Participation and attrition patterns in American agency-sponsored and interscholastic sports: An executive summary. North Palm Beach, FL: Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.

Dennis A. Johnson, EdD
Associate Professor-Jamestown Community College (SUNY)
Former Wrestling Coach & Author of Wrestling Drills for the Mat and Mind

– See more at: http://www.nwcaonline.com/1-reason-kids-play-sports-to-form-friendships/#sthash.GBOgWris.dpuf

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