Which Sport Is the Right Choice for My Child's Personality?


Sports are a great way to teach your children to be a contributing part of a team, challenge themselves, and get active. It can help shy children blossom socially, and teach every kid how to incorporate physical activities into their daily lives in an enjoyable manner. Sports are both challenging and rewarding, and the valuable lessons learned in socializing, following rules, and being accountable can be applied to other areas of their daily lives.

A child’s personality can have a lot to do with which sports they will ultimately take to, and which activities will eventually fall by the wayside. From basketball and softball to swimming and track, recreational sports are wildly varied in the experiences they offer and the personalities they cater to best. Here are a few tips on how to help your child find their passion in a sport that complements their personality.

children sports

Increase their Exposure

In order for children to choose a sport that suits them, they have to first be exposed to the wide array of options available. Personality, athletic ability, access to practice time and equipment, and their interest level are all part of finding that perfect activity. Do what you can to expose them to all available possibilities, and allow them to try and reject more than one sport. It may take some trial and error before they find what works for them. That may mean revolving equipment, repeat learning curves, and many possible attempts and failures, but try your best to be patient. Make sure they stick with each sport long enough to get a full understanding of the game, but if they don’t seem to continue to find consistent enjoyment in their practice, allow them to move on and pursue other options.

Set Them up for Success

If your child spends most of their time in front of the television, getting them up early in the morning to speed around a track, tackle on the football field, or run around bases might lead right to stubborn refusal by your young one. On the other hand, trying to teach a child prone to hyperactivity the precise and patient game of golf may lead to early frustration. Try to find a good fit by first pairing your child with activities that are closely related to their personality and activity level.

  • Highly active: track, dance, hockey, martial arts

  • Low activity: golf, bowling, fencing, archery

  • Introverted: gymnastics, tennis, yoga, swimming

  • Extroverted: soccer, football, baseball, basketball, hockey

Avoid Instilling Your Own Preferences

Try not to influence your child’s preference too much by pushing your own. You may have been a star on the football field in your youth, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your child will find the same passion for the sport.

If their chosen sports team meets early in the morning or agonizingly late on your Friday night, it’s still up to you to try your best to be accommodating in lieu of steering them away for personal reasons. If your child’s sports interest is impeding on your own work/life balance, consider swapping responsibilities with other parents to cut down on the weekly grind of carting your young sports enthusiast to and from their games and practices.

Perhaps you have a shy child who struggles making friends. It might be tempting to steer them towards sports that are individualistic in nature, such as tennis, to help them take to a sport. But there is also something to be said for challenging children to expand their comfort zone. If your child shows an interest in a highly interactive sport, it can be good practice to encourage them to explore it while being flexible with them if they find it unpalatable after just a short time.

Finding the right sport for your child’s personality can be complicated, and the search is not always intuitive. It’s important to remain flexible but also firm enough to ensure your child has a chance to truly experience each sport in which they show an interest. Oftentimes our children can tell us what is right for them. We merely need to open up and follow them in the direction they find for themselves.