sports help.

Missy - posted on 05/25/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )

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My son is 5, but prefers the company of eight year - teens most. He is very concerned with being "cool". He does the soccer thing with his peers and is really amazing at technique at practices, but then when he gets to the games he throws himself down, messes around, acts like a complete mess. He also annoys the coach because when they do drills he always adds something so he doesn't get bored - for example - tonight he pulls his hat down over his eyes so he wouldn't be able to see the ball while playing red light green light and dribbling. He was told that he needed to concentrate on learning to not look at the ball while he was running, so that's what he did.

While he's diving on the ball, falling every time any other kid falls, etc - he's discouraged that he doesn't score as much as other kids. When I tell him to get in the game he says "Mom, pretend you're watching TV and I can't hear you, so you don't need to cheer for me." He wants me to just watch quietly.

He also has all these sensitivities and he HATES his shin guards because they "hurt" and are "irritating".

I've asked him if he wants to quit soccer and do something else, but he says "No, I like playing soccer, Mommy." Help?

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Hanny - posted on 09/04/2010

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I just read some earlier posts and they really startled me. Pulling a 5 year old out of a team sport, because he is not behaving as a teamplayer, is really the worst thing you can do right now. Come on! He's 5! He's been told he is the greatest kid around, and he is! Now it's time to learn there are more "greatest kids" and learn how to be a teamplayer. How is he going to learn if you pull him out of his team? Please don't tell me every other child is a teamplayer, but him. They all want to score, hang in front of the goal, goof off, none of them can concentrate on the game during the whole game yet. At 5 years old, the only thing they need to do is have fun, learn what their position is, and get interested in the sport. As a girl I spent a lot of time at the soccerfields. As a mom I did too. It is usually not the children who are a problem, but the parents, with all their expectations. I've even seen Dads become angry at 5-6 year olds about their performance, or parents giving their children money if they scored (guess what, no teamplaying here, just hanging in front of the goal, waiting for the ball) Let there be one coach on the field. Not 20.

Hanny - posted on 09/04/2010

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Let me start by saying my oldest son has played soccer for 4 years and I've been teamcoach for 2. We live in Holland, a true soccer country.....It is very hard for 5 year olds to stay focused on the game during the whole game. They dance, pick flowers, look for planes in the sky....:) They want you to be there, they want you to watch them.....quietly. Afterwards they want to hear your compliments :) About his shin guards: please go to an official sporting goods store to check his size. Hurting and irritating doesn't sound right. It's also very important to keep shin guards clean (just wash them with the soccer clothes). Old sweat can make the skin break out in a rash..

Soccer is a teamsport. If we had no defense in the team, offense wouldn't stand a chance alone. It's not all about being the one who scores..altough at 5 I can imagine :) Most of all, the only thing of importance, when you play soccer at 5 years old, is to have fun! Having fun and enjoying yourself will develop you as a player eventually. No pressure, no expectations. Best thing you can do!

Pamela - posted on 08/30/2010

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Work with him one on one away from the field and practice (practice at practicing.) State expectations and reward appropriate behavior. When you get to the field, say nothing in public. Do you have the shin guards that are incorporated in the socks or the separate ones? Switching the type might help. Hang in there. Maturity comes with patience and age.

Esme - posted on 07/24/2010

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Wow .. sounds so familiar.

Does he doubt his ability to do it right and to follow the rules? My son would do something completely different than what was asked just because he wasn't sure about what was wanted from him, so he did his own thing, which was usually similar but not what was asked for. He learns in a completely different way than the other kids, I would have to show him or explain it a few times in different ways until his brain figured it out.
also ...
Does he know that his antics are frustrating to his team and coach?
I had no problem explaining to my son how his actions affect others. Part of learning and growing up.
I recommend you tell him how his antics are seen by the coach and the team and by the onlookers. Most kids don't want to be seen as a fool. They want to fit in and not be 'special' in most cases.
Good luck, eventually your son will figure out where he thrives and it may be something you least expected. Gifted kids are so exciting, I never knew what was coming next.

Katrina - posted on 07/01/2010

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my son(14) and daughter(13) are highly gifted at sports the way i helped to concentrate their minds-which most people dont realise is as hard as exam conditions is to get them in to another sport which is a solo sport eg swimming.i gave them goals to aim for and for atleast 3/4 years they have done both of their sports side by side
this will teach them that its like a bank, the more they concentrate the more they improve and it helps with the social skills they need being on a team
my son hates me watching so dont worry about it thats boys what they say and mean sometimes differ i bet he wants you there when he does well! dont worry that he get over sensitive over not scoring as much tell him rome wasnt built in a day most top athletes started there,get him to pactise as much as he can
you have pently of time intoduce many sports he may find he likes others more
i hope this helps as mine are county swimmers,footballer and a national athlete x

Heather - posted on 06/04/2010

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Well, the shin guard thing could be a sensory issue. Does he hate tags in his clothes? Seams not right on socks? Sometimes being on a team for a gifted child is overwhelming because of the noise, the sheer sharing other issues. Loud niose could just rattle him. Worth getting checked out.

Kylie - posted on 06/04/2010

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I think it is really worth persevering with as team sports teach children socialisation skills. My son at 5 was also easily distracted and would rather watch the birds fly past than concentrate on the ball - a slight bother to his athletic parents (lol). But at 7 he is an awesome little player.

Don't get me wrong, he still notices everything that is happening around him and can get distracted but is now able to bring his attention back to the game. He still makes up songs and rap dances while waiting for kickoff etc but once the ball is hit he usually focusses.

Speaking as a coach though all children need to be taught respect and the girls I coach know that they must be respectful with myself, each other, the opposition and umpires or else there will be consequences.

Dr. Peggy - posted on 05/26/2010

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AND (to add to Jane's very, very good advice) if he does not get the 'team' bit, then don't let him play a team sport after this season is over. Really, think about the coaches having to deal with lots of 5 year olds. They and the other kids don't need this. Try individual sports with your son - swimming and gymnastics come to mind. There his individualism will only effect him and not the other members of the team. He might want to go back to team sports when he is older.

Jane - posted on 05/26/2010

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Well, he absolutely needs to be taught that if he's going to play a TEAM sport, then he needs to be part of the TEAM. It's not him alone...he's a team member. He's not too young to teach this to. He needs to know that when he doesn't participate properly, he is distracting the team and that's not fair to the others. You need to be firm with him because if this behavior continues, you're going to have bigger problems later on. Kids that are gifted are not necessarily more mature....they can actually be a lot more immature so you need to concentrate on teaching him maturity (obviously at a 5 year old level) and how to be a part of a group. He needs to know life is not all about him. I know that might be hard to hear but with two gifted kids of my own (20 and 16 now), I had to deal with this as well. Nip it in the bud now. If he can't play as part of a team, tell him he's done. If he likes it as much as you say he does, then he'll quit doing things he shouldn't.

As for you not cheering him on...respect that. Lots of kids...gifted or not, really hate it when their parents cheer them on...it's embarrasing.

Missy - posted on 05/25/2010

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For the most part, soccer is just one of those places where I see that he is SO different from the other kids, and I don't know what to do.

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