If at first you don’t succeed…try, try again was my philosophy when I searched for a sport that my son could excel and enjoy at the same time. Not an easy task, since he has auditory processing disorder and developmental delays. One disability affects his understanding of what is being asked of him and the other interferes with his strength and coordination. As a result, it took a couple of years to find what sport fit him the best. I started at age three with gymnastics and age four with karate. Both are great sports to develop strength and coordination. He enjoyed these sports until the programs became more difficult for him physically as well as mentally. At age four I also enrolled him in swim lessons. It was time to get rid of the floaties and learn to be water safe. He always loved being in the water but was resistant to putting his head under water. He cried every day of swim lessons and refused to go along with whatever his instructor asked him to do. At the end of the session, she asked me not to bring him back. His teacher told me she couldn’t work with him until he was willing to follow her instructions. I was mortified, how could someone give up on four year old child like that!!! What I learned from that experience is that she was the wrong instructor for him. Her teaching style didn’t fit him one bit, so I had to find an instructor who did. I finally found one and brought her to my house for private lessons. What a difference in him! He was finally learning to swim because she brought him along at his own pace. However, I was still searching for that perfect sport.
Soccer and basketball were next on the list. Both wonderful sports, but neither worked for him. He didn’t have enough strength to keep up with the other kids and his fear of contact always caused him to hang back and stay away from the pack. At this point my son was in kindergarten and his p-kit suggested I enroll him in T-Ball to help his hand-eye coordination problems. So I followed her advice and signed him up for spring ball. Once again, he faced a couple of challenges. Due to his processing disorder and developmental delays, he had a hard time catching the ball and hitting it off the T. However, he did like the fact that there wasn’t alot of contact with the other kids. Unfortunately, you can’t stay in T-Ball forever. Once he got a little older he had to move into actual Little League Baseball where he just couldn’t keep up. He became very discouraged and wanted to quit. So, he finished out the season and said he never wanted to play again.
At the same time, every summer I put him back in swim lessons. After baseball ended, he told me he only wanted to swim. How come I didn’t think of that before? Since it was the only sport he loved….why not year round swim lessons? He’s been doing year round lessons for the past year and a half and is learning all the strokes in swimming. Sometimes it takes him a little longer to master a stroke, but he eventually gets it. He loves it because he feels successful and that’s the key to finding the perfect sport. I know he’s not going to be the next Michael Phelps, but that’s not what this is about. It’s about my son feeling good about himself, because when he does…..he’s the happiest kid in the world!