By Julie Provost
If you head to any military installation this spring and find the outdoor playing fields, you will find lots of military families and children enjoying their favorite sports.
But not all sports are created equal in terms of portability — a key concern for military families who move all the time. Sports like lacrosse may be great if you’re stationed in Maryland, but what happens when you get stationed in California?
Here are the sports that are perfect for military kids:
Soccer is a longtime favorite. On the team, your child will get to know other kids, gain experience working as a team, and find their strengths within the game. Some military installations offer soccer more than once a year and “kiddie kick” teams are often open to children as young as three or four.
Nothing’s more American than baseball and softball. As a result, there will most likely be a team for your child to join wherever you are stationed.
No matter where you PCS, kids who swim will be able to take their “team” with them. The primary goal for any swimmer is to work on a time goal and to improve their form. Because of this, your child can train to beat their times, stay in shape with regular workouts, and enjoy time in the pool, regardless of the sports culture in the area. You can start your children with swim lessons around preschool at most military installations and look for a team as they grow older and learn more swimming skills.
Karate is another individual sport which allows the practitioner to work on new skills no matter the time or place you PCS. For some, this is ideal, especially if they are having a difficult time with military life. Like swimming, the child can work on a personal goal while also practicing independence and discipline and learning about the satisfaction of hard work. Karate is also something you could sign your children up for at anytime rather than having to wait for the season to start.
Basketball is often offered in the winter indoors. There may also be outdoor leagues in the summer, depending on where you’re stationed. The ability to play it indoors makes it a perfect sport for those stationed in colder climates. Kids can also easily practice at home with their basketball hoop or get to know other kids in the neighborhood at their new duty station.
Julie Provost is an associate editor at Military One Click and a National Guard spouse. She can be reached at [email protected]