7 Things To Love About Cross Country
By Alex Flanagan
WHAT MAKES RUNNING A GREAT SPORT FOR KIDS
It is an objective sport:
Your time is your time. There is no subjective standard of play where a coach is evaluating performance. That means the sport is not susceptible to referees or judges making calls that change the outcome of the game. The runner who crosses the finish line first wins. Youth sports critics will love that there is no opportunity for coaches to play Daddyball or show favoritism toward certain kids.
Runners compete against themselves:
A runner’s success is not dependent on a teammate passing them the puck, throwing them the ball or batting them in to home base. In many ways, their success is entirely up to them. Wins can be measured two ways. Runners can compare times with the top finishers, but can also hold themselves accountable to their own past times. This provides kids with a great opportunity to learn the importance of self- improvement. They can set goals to get better every day and work toward those goals by competing against themselves.
It is all inclusive:
Everyone plays because in cross country everyone runs. There is no proving you have the skills to pitch, play point guard or quarterback. In cross country there is no such thing as a two-deep or a bench warmer. For those reasons and many more, cross country is one of the sports experts recommend for kids who have been diagnosed with ADHD.
It is great exercise:
Practices are made up of running, for an hour or two and everyone on the team puts in the same amount of practice. Unlike in other sports where your child might be relegated to watching other kids master a skill or sit out a scrimmage.
Parents can’t helicopter:
During meets parents only really see their kids at the beginning and end of a race, so you can’t evaluate every move they make during the race.
It won’t break the bank:
A pair of shorts and shoes is all you need. No pads, bats, gloves, cleats, helmets, or sticks required.
It’s low Drama:
Because it’s all inclusive and runners compete against themselves … because parents can’t helicopter and since it’s an objective sport, there is a wonderful lack of drama on most cross country teams. No one will be arguing over things like who made the all star game. Which you and your kids will both be grateful for!
Alex Flanagan co-founded I love to watch you play in 2015. She was flying home from an NFL work assignment when a learning specialist, who was sitting next to her, shared 5 reasons she shouldn’t feel guilty missing her son’s game. She shared their conversation on her own website alexflanagan.com and the response was so overwhelming it inspired her to create ILTWYP to help parents like herself navigate youth sports.