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Patriot Perspective: Youth sports offers continuum of options

The Pequot Lakes Youth Sports program serves students from kindergarten through sixth grade and emphasizes “equal play time” for all participants. Playing time is an important part of sports participation for children.

Parents can help a preschool-aged child to enjoy sports by taking time at home to play catch, use a batting tee, shoot some baskets into a child-sized basketball hoop or try mini golf. Being together with your child and offering encouragement will prepare your child for future sports participation. Most 3- or 4-year-olds are not developmentally ready to participate in team sports play.

The focus of the youth sports program at the introductory or beginner level is on the development of basic sport skills, an understanding of the sport rules, listening to your coach and playing together as a team. When all of these fundamentals elements come together the youth athlete is able to participate and really have fun playing on a sports team.

As students move up to an intermediate playing level they are able to work on more complex skills and drills; understand and apply additional game rules; and spend more time to enhance their team skills.

The elementary student sports program gives youth a head start on athletic skills that they can use to continue their sports participation at the Minnesota State High School League levels of play.

There are many benefits to being involved in a youth sports activity. Youth sports build the team, help to understand the fundamental sport skills, recognize and use the game rules and promote good sportsmanship behavior.

Critics of youth sports activities will mention the push to have children work too intensely on one sport while overusing muscles to the point of injury and adults who only focus on winning. Student athletes need adult affirmation for their sports playing skills.

There can be valuable lessons learned from losing, too. Student athletes can learn to assess their own level of playing skill and build on their ability to work as a team. Students who are able to enjoy the participation process will gain from the sports experience whether the final score gets recorded as a win or a loss.

The Pequot Lakes Youth Sports program offers soccer for grades 2 to 6, football for grades 3 to 6, volleyball for grades 3 to 6, basketball for K to grade 6, wrestling for K to grade 6, golf for grades 4 to 6 and softball/baseball for grades K to 6 as sports choices for young students.

Contact Jackie Cogan, Pequot Lakes Youth Sports coordinator, at 218-568-8090 to find out more about sports opportunities for your child. Parents are invited to become involved in the program as a volunteer coach, as a member of the Pequot Lakes Youth Sports board, by working at fundraiser events or as a business sponsor of a team.

Where do you and your youth sports player fit on the continuum of sports options? The Pequot Lakes Youth Sports program welcomes everyone who wants to play to be part of the sports program.