Issues with motor skills can make team sports a challenge. But if your child struggles with balance, coordination and other aspects of movement, he can still enjoy playing sports.
Not only is swimming fun, it doesn’t require some of the gross or fine motor skills some other sports do. Plus, it can actually help with movement issues. Swimming helps develop muscle tone, coordination and balance. Research shows that it may also improve speech. Another benefit: Because it’s an individual sport, your child can improve at his own speed.
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Martial arts may be challenging for kids with gross motor issues at first. But karate, tae kwon do and judo are taught in a very slow and structured way. Kids build skills gradually, and as they reach new skill levels, they’re awarded a different color belt to reflect their success. That can be a huge confidence boost!
Track and Field
Running track might not seem like a logical choice for kids who have trouble with motor skills. But while track may be challenging, it’s also a skill booster for kids with movement issues. There’s no real time pressure, either. While there are team events, track is more an individual sport. Kids can improve at their own pace.
If your child really wants to try team sports, soccer might be one of the best options. Kids with motor skills issues might do well playing defense. Defensive players have a little more time to plan their movements. And their role isn’t so focused on running, kicking and scoring. If they’re able to block the shot, make a tackle or kick the ball out of danger, they’ve done their job.
Fencing uses a unique mix of movement skills. It requires fine motor skills for handling the foil (the fencing sword), and gross motor skills for learning footwork and moving quickly. In beginning fencing classes, kids work on balance and coordination. They also focus on developing concentration and strategy. And they continue to build skills from there.