The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) passed by some people of the tribe of Bani Aslam who were practicing archery. The Prophet said, "O Bani Ismail, practice archery as your father Isma'il was a great archer. Keep on throwing arrows and I am with Bani so-and-so." So one of the parties ceased throwing. Allah's Apostle said, "Why do you not throw?" They replied, "How should we throw while you are with them (i.e. on their side)?" On that the Prophet said, "Throw, and I am with all of you." (Narrated Salama bin Al-Akwa: Book #52, Hadith #148)
For the past few years, during the school holidays, I would book my children into archery for fun. They did have fun and, basically, it was always hit and miss. There was no skill involved: they pulled back the arrow and let go. I wasn't happy with this as I wanted them to develop their skills. However, the archery centre only allowed children to have lessons when they turned ten. So when my eldest was 10 years old, I booked him and myself into archery lessons on the weekends. Masha Allah, having lessons made a difference! He could hit the target every time. Having the skills gave him confidence. Sadly, my youngest has to wait a few more years and every time he misses the target it makes him SO frustrated.
Archery is an individual sport and I have noticed that my children enjoy solo sports much more than they do team sports. They do kung fu and swimming as well and every time they move up a level they feel accomplished.
I remember listening to John Taylor Gatto speaking about the secrets of top private schools. One of the secrets to students' success was the fact that top private schools offer more individual sports to students than do public schools. In comparison, the public schools offer mainly team sports. Why this is significant is that in individual sports, students must rely on themselves and their own skills to achieve success. Whereas, in team sports, students must rely on others and usually, there's only one or two players that excel while the rest merely support these players. So there's no sense of personal achievement. This is not to say that team sport is bad. It's just saying that students need both types not just the typical team sports offered in schools (soccer, football, basketball, hockey, rugby, volleyball, netball, cricket - oh how I remember these sports in high school!)
Having said all this, it is so hard to convince my children to take up team sport as well. I have tried to encourage them to play soccer for many years but to no avail. They have tried tennis and said that they wanted to do horse riding in the future. Both, you will notice, are individual sports!
What sports do your children play and how can I get my kids to play team sport? Please comment :)