Boys Who Are Not into Sports

Updated on December 06, 2010
A.A. asks from Houston, TX
23 answers

I have two boys 7 and 9 and they are awesome kids in most respects. we just moved to a new city and they started new schools. at this new school sports for boys is a big deal. my kids just have never been and even now are really not into any kind of group sports. to be honest my husband and never grew up in texas and never did organized sports growing up so we are not the best role models for sports! we have tried soccer and basketball etc since K but it never went very far. my older son is very uncoordinated and it was obvious that he was just not getting it. If we had stuck with it perhaps he would have been able to keep playing at a basic level but there was no interest on is part. He is very interested in music and plays 2 instruments and sings in a city choir...this is clearly his talent. However this does not leave any room in our schedule to play team sports. He does swim well and he plays tennis with dad and brother a couple of times a week. My younger son is similar...he loves to read, play piano and while immature by age (he was grade skipped for academic reasons) he does have friends and enjoys school. This one also plays tennis and swims when we can. However they are both really struggling to fit in with the other boys bc most do organized sports after school and even in 4th grade seem to take it very seriously...league soccer etc. My kids do not watch much tv...are active in their own way and very healthy so sports for them is really not about keeping weight off or finding activities to fill time taken by tv. we are very busy as a family. Organized sports would fill a "social" niche in their life but my fear is we give up what my kids are innately good at for very little skill development in sports and they would not get the sense of satisfaction that they are good at it. In other words my kids would play some mainstream basketball thing 2 times a week to be seen by the other kids but would spend most of that time not really doing much. But they might be more integrated into the boy culture at their schools! What is the right answer? what would you do? Also I have to say neither kid is that interested in in they are not the ones asking to try out basketball or soccer.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your responses! I too don't believe that having my kids participate in the school basketball team or soccer is going to do that much for them socially. I was suddenly having pangs that some decisions made early on (violin and piano at age 6) and a fairy "nerdy" family (education is very important to us and both my husband and I have advanced degrees) is contriving to make my kids fairly un-maintstream. Which again I am fine with but I suddenly thought what if they have regrets later and wished we had actively pushed more sports on them??! Its hard to be the hold out to sports here in texas! But I am very gratified to see that I was not the only one! thank you all for the support! I am just going to hold true to what makes sense for our family and our interests!

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answers from College Station on

If they enjoy swimming, there are opportunities to compete in swimming that might fill that social niche you are looking for. Otherwise, cultivate their stengths and interest in music and get them involved with other kids who have this same interest to provide additional social opportunities for them.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Let them follow their own choices for activities.
My bosses son never played football til high school and he went to college on a FULL football scholarship and is now expected to be drafted into the NFL! My point being you just never know.....just let them do what they enjoy!

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answers from Boston on

I can tell you from experience, that if you put your boys into sports and they are not good at them, it will make their social lives worse. They will get singled out for their inability. They are better off not participating. You do however say that they like swimming and tennis. If there are teams for these sports in your area that is the way to go.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Ugh...I can't tell you how much I HATE this culture of sports that we have made for our little boys. And when I say we I mean the grownups in the world, especially male, who are obsessed with sports. This obsession leads them to teach their sons, at an extremely early age, to judge their self worth, AND the worth of others, by their althletic ability. I am disgusted by what I see in the team sports my sons are in. Dads are CLEARLY living through their little boys. They are ruining it for the kids in a big way. They take it so seriously too. They stack the teams so that certain teams are filled with all of the good athletes and then the other teams get beat. This has happened to my sons continously. They have had seasons where they have not won a single game. So while all the 'athletes' that have been stacked onto certain teams get to enjoy the sport the rest of the kids start to hate it and how do you explain it to a kid that it is because the adults cannot act their age and make equitable teams.
And I will tell you another thing.. I FIRMLY believe that America's obsession with sports is one of the biggest reasons that we lag behind so many other nations. Ask any parent you know to discuss the school and what is going on within the classroom or district and their eyes will glaze over. They don't care at is the schools job to educate and that is good enough for them. But then ask them about the sports and you will get an earful. And where do you see the bulk of the volunteer parents???? Not at the school but on the field. We are sending a CLEAR message to boys that their actions on the field are what counts to us.
Don't force your boys to do sports if they don't like it. I know it is tough because they will have a tough time fitting in right now. But what I am guessing will happen is that there will be a weeding out process as they get a little older. Kids who don't like to play at the advanced levels or who don't make those teams will change directions. They will start developing other interests outside of sports. Hopefully.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

If your kids aren't innately interested in the sport, they won't bond with the sports kids anyway, so don't bother. And they won't be good at the sport, so they won't enjoy it. And they would probably be snubbed or singled out for their inability, as one mom below said.

Neither of my boys were sports boys, and haven't had problems making friends in school. My youngest, still in high school, is on the debate team and hangs out with the nerds. All the nerds seem to do cross-country, for some reason, so he does that. Also he's been on the swim team. He doesn't hang out with the "jocks." My oldest didn't do a sport in high school but is now training to be a Navy SEAL.

If your boys swim and play tennis, then have them do that. Nothing wrong with that. Not all boys are jocks. They'll find their niche. They can hang out with the band kids. That's a great group of kids.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

If they don't want to do it then don't push it.
My son who is 6 is a dancer. He LOVES to dance and he's in his second year of actual tap class. He wants to play soccer in the spring so we will let him if he doesn't like it after this year then he won't have to do it again.

Why not try swim team? Check with your local YMCA.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

Not all boys play sports. We have a son, he's only 3, but with a musician father and artist mother with no interest in sports, a big sister already playing piano while he looks on enviously and imitates her lessons, I'll be surprised if he likes sports. I'll offer him the chance to play when he's old enough, and be supportive, but I wouldn't dream of making him play any sports. Like you, we're a physically active healthy family who is already busy. If he doesn't add sports to the mix, all the better for my busy schedule! The kids (actually the parents) are huge into sports in our town too, and the young kids practice 5 nights a week for some sports!?!?!?! I'm seriously hoping I won't need to be at a ball field 5 nights a week anytime soon....

There are other boys for him to be friends with and it's physically impossible for every single male in a school to be on the teams unless it's a super tiny school. I wouldn't sweat it or push it. DEFINITELY don't swap any time on it from things they love.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

I would not push the team sports either.

IMHO the point to sports is exercise (unless a child has a particular talent or drive for something). I have one team-sports child (16), and one karate kid (13). Ironically my team-sports child has discovered a love for the performing arts (after we started homeschooling).

If they are not good at the sport or not interested they will not fit in anyway. I would pursue social opportuniteis in music and the performing arts (sounds like that is where their interests lie).

Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

It sounds like you have a nice balance going on now, so unless you REALLY feel team sports would benefit your kids more than keeping the current schedule, I wouldn't change a thing. Plus, if they they keep playing tennis and swimming, maybe they'll be on the tennis or swim team in high school - there you go: team sport! If they're happy with the way things are, don't feel pressured to change.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

If you are looking at the sports to fill a social need at school, my suggestion would be to talk to your boys about each of them inviting another boy from their class to go on a fun outing with your family: a museum or some other activity that they might all find fun, and it doesn't have to be sports-based. This way, they can just play around together during a more 'neutral' activity. Even doing this every few weeks or so: invite them for game afternoons, LEGO building, might help soften those differences between Sports Boys and your sons. Also, are there other boys in your neck of the woods who love music and that your sons might connect with through lessons? This might be a nice thing to ask your son's music instructors about. Having friends is important, and you can continue to encouraging their interest in what they're *actually* interested in.

For what it's worth, our son (he's not even four yet) shows similar inclinations. Music is nearly everything to him--he'd often rather listen to music and play along (on guitar, tinkertoy-guitar, vacuum-tube guitar, broom guitar....) than just about anything else. Nice when they can show us so readily what they like! Keep supporting your sons with their music, let them know their path is perfect for them for right now, and the rest will fall into place.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

if they're not interested, they're not asking to go, there's no question. don't take them. IF they ask and show interest, that's different. you've tried it, they weren't great at it and have other things they like a lot better. if you "just" moved to this new school (so irritating how some schools put SO much focus on sports), unless they seem unhappy or to be suffering due to being left out i wouldn't sweat it. some of that is natural anyway, since they just moved. if it seems like it's becoming an issue, maybe work with teachers and parents and set up some play dates. kids don't have to be cool with 30 other kids to be happy. sometimes it's okay to just have one or two good friends. go by their cues. if they're happy, leave it alone.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I would not try to make them into "jocks" if that is NOT their thing, nor their talent, nor their physical ability... nor the type of kids they do not naturally connect with.

Why... must a child have to... play sports??? I always wonder that myself. It is not a mandatory thing, in life... to be a 'jock'.
And no... organized sports... will NOT "fill a social niche" in your son's lives.
AND no, they should NOT give up... their natural talents/lessons... just to do sports. Do NOT take that away from them... your sons.. have really really great talents... and you should keep, nurturing that and SINCE it is their interests.

I always tell my kids... that everyone has a 'special' talent... and everyone is different... you don't 'have to' be like everyone else.
I really do not see... why some kids are forced into sports... when the child themselves has ZERO interest (or talent) in it. In this vein, a child is just learning to 'please' other people... and not listening to their OWN identity and talents.... and sense of self-confidence.

Sometimes... children "lose" their special talents... BECAUSE it has been socialized out of them. And...that is very very sad. Because once a 'talent' has been socialized out of a child... they will often not regain... that talent again... or they will lose... that talent and ability.
Think about that....

It would be a great disservice to them... if they are made to play sports... just because. Let your children... be who THEY are. To follow their OWN hearts.... and talents.
THAT is... always, the best.
It is not about trying to be someone else... or to be just like everyone else...

all the best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I agree with the moms who said to respect their interests. Don't urge them to do what they are not drawn to. It sounds like they have a diversity of wonderful interests and why would you want them to add team sports? I know, you said so, so they would have an easier time at school. Are they suffering themselves yet? Or are they fine in the niche they are creating for themselves? If they are suffering, consider a different school, with a focus on arts and music. Support them to be their true selves, even if mainstream cuture wants every man to be a jock. We do not need a million jocks. Sounds like we need your sons! (And mine, for that matter...! And all of the other moms as well, yes: diversity!)

Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Our middle school has after school clubs that provide social interaction. One daughter goes to the Dance Dance Revolution club (yes, they just play handheld games and do dance competition on a game system), and the other one goes to the gardening club (they clean out weeds and plant beds in an inner courtyard). Both my kids are not into organized sports, and do individual stuff (horse back riding and roller skating). I think you need to let them decide as long as they are active and like bike riding or swimming or long hikes, etc.



answers from Harrisburg on

I would find a school that promotes their interests if you are able to or enroll them in a program that encourages that, so they do not feel out of place. I am glad to see that there are other moms with sons who are not sports inclined.



answers from Austin on

Let your boys be who they are! Being the worst kid on the team, should that happen, in a sport you don't love that much, would be a nightmare to many kids. My children are not athletic, had no interest in team sports, and got their social outlets in other ways. They were active in Scouts (1 boy 1 girl), school choir from 4th grade on, chess for my son, drama for my daughter, and other things. My daughter did decide to participate in the neighborhood swim team when she was in middle and high school, but that was it. My son started a political club in high school, and is now starting a career in politics/government. They will have far more good social interaction if they pursue their own interests with other like minded kids. Good luck!


answers from Beaumont on

I am late to the discussion and have not read the other posts but as a mom of 3 and a teacher I say be in tune to your kids. Do what they are interested in. They will make friends that are more similiar to them and have their interests in band and choir. I will say that I think swimming and tennis are great and they are also "team" sports. I have them pick one of those things to do each week and they will meet kids and be active doing that. I was on the tennis team in high school and it was a great experience being part of that group and we were cool in our own way in our outfits and got to travel to events etc. BUT for them to do that at the high school or jr high you do have to be playing it, so get them involved in that although they are still young. Each of our kids were different and that is part of being a parent and being in tune to your kids and facilitating their talents and interests. One daughter did ballet and was a girly girl and one played Select soccer and our son hated baseball, football and soccer but loved to skate around the block and eventually was on a roller hockey league. You just have to go with what they are interested in. Follow their lead. Putting them on some team that they are not into will not help them make friends and will even make things worse because the other kids will not respect that and see them as a burden. The most important part of life is learning to shine and to gravitate toward what makes us happy. You sound like you have a wonderful family. Relax and even the Texans will admire you.


answers from Santa Fe on

I grew up in TX and it's crazy how sports are such a big deal there. It's almost weird at the high school level if you ask me! Everywhere I have lived as an adult has not been like that at all. I think it is just fine that your sons have other interests and I would just encourage them in the stuff they love to do. My son does not like to do team sports (he's 6) either but he is awesome at bike riding, skiing, rollerblading and ice skating. He enjoys gymnastics and cub scouts as well but consistently decides he does not like any team sports. I think your sons both sound great!



answers from Seattle on

Sounds like its just not for them then, so really no way to push it. Even if it is a social thing. There has to be boys their age who love what they love. Is there any music clubs at their school? Ask for a list of after school activitys they can look at and choose something they would rather do then sports, then maybe they can find some friends to fit in with.


answers from Norfolk on

My son isn't into team sports either. Not everyone is.
And I really hate it when the teams/parents/coaches get rabid about it.
But I want to keep my son active doing something.
Taekwondo works out for us perfectly.



answers from Austin on

Good for you for allowing your kids to be who they are! Be sure to encourage them to value what everyone is doing. Help them to see that there are others who really, really enjoy things they don't and that is fine. They will not be "left out" so much if they congratulate and support those who choose to do activities that they don't enjoy. Have them ask their friends how their team did over the weekend, for example. That may open up a conversation about what your kids are involved in. It might not, but at least your kids won't come across as looking down on the others. And they might be less of a target for being teased for not playing sports. Yes, we are in Texas...



answers from San Angelo on

I have lived in the area that I am in now since my 20 year old was in PreK. It is a small school and everyone knows everyone and everyone is in to all the school activities except for my boys. Both my boys are not into school sports. My 20 year old did play basketball and tennis in Jr High but he did not stick with it. Like you, my husband and I did not play sports though I do exercise daily. My oldest was into video games more then being outside. He hated school because it was hard for him due to his dsylexia, my youngest is very into being outdoors working with his welder or riding his horse or just hanging out with us or friends. I realize that you are new to the area but with my sons neither one of them had a hard time fitting due to not doing sports or other school activities. They had their friends and spent the night with them, hung out doing whatever teen age boys do even though all of their friends where into the school activities and sports and they weren't. Of coarse I realize kids can be mean but I think in time that your boys will be just fine. Just hang in there and give it time. Good luck and god bless you and your family



answers from Houston on

I am in the same boat, but I have a 10 yr old that is interested and a 14 yr old thats not at all. We live in a very small town. The whole town is all about sports. My 14 yr old is in GT, the Honor Society, plays the guitar and is in a after school group. He has had a really hard time fitting in because of the sports. So last year he decided to do athletics just to try and fit in. He had the oppurtunity to video the games for the coaches etc.. instead of actually play and it worked pretty well for him socialy for that part, but there is still ALOT of bullying and very cruel behavior going on. I always tell him he is so smart and that is what is going to take him places in his life and once he gets out of school he will look back and none of this will matter anymore. To keep his head up and one day these kids that are saying these horrible things will more than likely work for him. I don't know about you but I feel if I can keep him motivated and give him more positive feedback at home to make up for the negative he gets at school, he won't feel like he has to do things he really isn't interested in at school and he can focus on what he is good at and will use in life rather than waisting time on something he doesn't care for in the least bit.

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