We know kids have so many activities they can choose from these days and helping guide our children in selecting activities and sports can feel overwhelming. We hope this guide provides a good starting point as you seek to make the best decision for your child and family!
Thank you to our partners who made it possible for us to offer this resource to our community!
Presented by 314 Training Academy
Presented by Lou Fusz Athletic
Blue Wave Life
Blue Wave Life is a community of Martial Artists who train in traditional Tae Kwon Do. They are led by Mr. Robert Chisenhall and Ms. Kennedy Fitzgibbon and classes are held at the Brentwood Community Center on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. They teach all ages and encourage a family atmosphere with discounts for families that train together. The school fosters an environment of encouragement and positive growth for all. It is a fun atmosphere that allows all ages of students to benefit from the traditional values of Discipline, Hard Work and Perseverance. The instructos bring a combined 30 years of martial art teaching experience and encourage you to come try class at no cost!
Advice & Tips From St. Louis Moms
Before you click the “register” button or pay the fees, you may have a lot of questions or need to think through some considerations.
At What Age Do Sports Start?
Most traditional team sports don’t offer much in the way of a sports league until pre-school. Even then, the sport looks much more instructional than a season with competitive games against other teams. Some sports such as volleyball and basketball don’t begin competitive leagues until elementary school.
When Do I Sign Up?
A lot of new-to-sports moms are shocked that the sign-up window can be MONTHS before a season starts. Do your homework early and check into the sign-up window for the sport your child has their eye on well before the traditional season starts.
How Much Is It Gonna Cost Me?
The registration fee may not be the only cost involved. Although optional, there may also be dance recitals, additional clinics/camps, etc. that aren’t included in up-front costs. Also, most sports include equipment that your child may not already have (think sport-specific shoes, equipment, and clothing).
Pro Tip: check out sports-specific resale shops for deals on everything from shoes to equipment (bonus tip: you can likely sell it back when you’re done for store credit).
Is This New Sport Going to Take Over Our Calendar?
The time commitment of youth sports can vary wildly, so do your homework before signing up. If practices are involved, try and find out what day of the week they will be and how often. If there are games, try and find out if they are weekdays vs. weekends and generally the parameters of the season so that you can spot conflicts in advance.
They Say They Need Parent Coaches. Should I?
Many youth sports do rely on parent coaches, and the unfortunate truth is that if no one steps up, the team/league won’t happen. That doesn’t mean that you should feel guilted into coaching, however. The ideal parent-coach has the time to commit to practices, games, and communicating with parents. An ideal parent-coach also has a positive, patient temperament and the ability to command the attention of a dozen children for an hour at a time. Yes, the ideal parent-coach has a good working knowledge of the particular sport, BUT it’s not a non-starter if you’ve never played/coached that sport before, especially if you can tag-team with another parent with that specific knowledge.
How Many Sports/Activities Are Too Many?
You know your kid best. A high-energy, extroverted kid may feel comfortable and enjoy playing multiple sports a year (or season!), but an indoorsy or lower energy kid may only be interested in playing a single sport/activity. Also, your family needs the bandwidth to handle practices and games, so don’t sign up if you know going into it that you won’t be able to make most of the games/practices.
My kid seems really good at this! Should we consider a “select” team?
Maybe! As your kid gets older, it may make sense to explore this option based on their own skill level and interest (please, do not live vicariously through your kid by pushing them into select sports). Just keep in mind that some clubs operate strictly on a tryout basis, and others have several “flighted” teams that can accommodate more skill levels. And the biggest consideration is the time and financial commitment you’ll be expected to make, in most cases about 10X’s the recreational leagues (multiple practices a week, out-of-town tournaments, and fees of $1000+).
Who Else Can I Talk To Before Diving In?
Other parents are a great resource. Find parents whose kids have played that sport before, especially for whatever organization you’re looking into. They will have insider knowledge that you won’t get from Google and can offer insight into whether that sport/organization will be a good fit for your kid.
Where Do We Start?
St. Louis Mom is happy to share our Youth Sports Guide with you! We have talked to local moms, and cultivated a list of options across many different sports.
Pro Tip: In addition to our lists, don’t forget that your school district Community Education program can be a great place to find introductory sports instruction, and you can often request to join a team with kids from your own school!