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I'm no good at sport

sport; exercise; fitness; self-esteem; relaxation; friendship; activity;


What's sport?

no good at sportWhen I asked kids what sport is, I got the following answers:

  • Footy, netball, hockey, cricket, softball, soccer, basketball and a whole lot of other team games.
  • Individual sports like swimming, surfing, tennis, fencing, bike racing, bmx, skateboarding, sailing, riding a horse and lots more.
  • Indoor sports like dance, gymnastics, callisthenics, or martial arts.

Then we got to thinking that there were two kinds of sport anyway:

  • Organised sport, like belonging to a club or school sports team, or doing sports lessons in school.
  • The sort of sport that you play with a group of friends at lunchtime or after school.

What if you don't like sport?

Lots of kids say that they don't like sport because:

  • They don't have good skills in a particular sport.
  • They had a bad time when playing organised sport.
  • They don't really know the rules, and feel like they don't know what they're doing anyway!
    no good at sport

Of course, there are some kids who may have a physical problem which means that they can't do sport - but some kids don't want to do sport because they just don't have the confidence to try anything where they think they are going to make mistakes or not 'look good'.

What can you do?


Hand-eye coordination and ball skills like catching, throwing, kicking, passing, bouncing are needed for most team sports learned and played in school.

You can practise all of these skills on your own or with a friend. Everyone has to practise ball skills, even the professionals. That's how they get to be professionals!

  • no good at sportPractise bouncing and catching a ball.
  • Practise bouncing and walking with a ball.
  • Practise throwing a ball against the wall and catching.
  • Bounce a ball against the wall and catch.
  • Try hitting the same spot on the wall or on the ground.
  • Peg a blanket on the clothesline and practise hard throws at it.
  • Practise kicking the ball against the wall. Try dribbling the ball round the garden, keeping it just in front of you.
  • Try hitting the same spot on the wall when you kick the ball.
  • Use different sized balls to learn more control.
  • If you want to practise hitting with a bat or a baseball bat, you can get someone to throw the ball to you or you can get a ball on elastic and hang it off a tree or a clothesline. This is just to practise hand eye coordination, not how hard you can hit!
  • Even when you are not actually practising, you can go over the movements in your mind. It all helps to train your body how to hit, catch, kick and throw.
    no good at sport

Whatever activity you chose, you will get better if you practice - and you will feel better too. 

Organised sport

no good at sportMaybe you had a bad time in an organised team, and felt that the other players or the coach or even parents gave you a hard time.

  • Unfortunately, some parents can get so involved in the game that they do seem to forget that kids need encouragement, not shouting at, if they make a mistake.
  • Not all teams are like that. You can look round for teams that are not so competitive, who don't yell at each other and are there just to improve skills, play a game and have fun.

Maybe you don't know the rules so you are afraid of doing something wrong.

  • When you are just learning a game, you will probably learn a few more rules each week, so you'll only need to understand a few rules at a time.
  • You can always read and learn the rules for yourself.Then if you really do not like to play, you could still be involved in the game, maybe as a referee or umpire. All team games need one, and that way you could still hang out with friends.

If you have a physical problem or there is some other reason why you can't join in sports, then you can still be in the conversations that are about sport. Go to watch people playing, watch games on TV, and read about sport in newspapers so that you can join in when others talk about sport. We have so much sport in this country and there are lots of conversations about it, even with adults.

Why sport is important?

Sport involves exercise, and that is good for your body, your mind and your feelings. Exercise keeps you busy, works your muscles, helps your body work better and releases chemicals into your brain which gives you a 'feel good' mood.

no good at sportSport is something that just about everyone talks about at some time, so it's good to be able to join in the conversation.

Team sport is about learning to be part of a team rather than an individual. It's about learning to do your best, encouraging others rather than putting them down, and most of all it's about being involved and having fun!

If ball games are not your scene, then look for where you can learn martial arts, marching, fencing, archery, cross country running, Little Athletics, dancing, or any of the dozens of ways in which you can join in, get fit and feel good doing some type of sporting activity.

What kids say about sport

  • "Practise shooting, encourage your team mates."
    - Taylor
  • no good at sport"Try dribbling the ball over and over to build an automatic reflex."
    - Joel
  • "When I first started I wasn't very good and I thought I'd never be a good player but then people started encouraging me and I got better."
    - Chloe
  • "I practise my cricket shots by hanging a ball in a stocking on the clothes line and then play some shots."
    - Ben
  • "When I play cricket I find it fun because I have all my mates there."
  • "When I started playing basketball for my school I wasn't very good but I've practised a lot and I'm improving each game."
  • "When I go to tennis this lady, who is a mother, shouts out encouragement like, 'Good hit'."
  • "Well I'm no good at sports but I like watching and anyway I'm good at other things."
  • " I went to watch my friend playing wheelchair basketball and now I play too. Each side can have a few 'ablebod' players and it's a lot of fun.

no good at sportHere are some things you can say to encourage yourself and your friends.

  • "Good hit."
  • "Come on let's practise."
  • "Great! You're getting better."
  • "Great try!"
  • "Hard luck, never mind, better luck next time." - Kirsty

Dr Kim says:

Dr KimMost schools nowadays have lots of different sports other than the usual "girls' sports" and "boys' sports". Have a go - you may surprise yourself!

And if you really cannot cope with team sports, then look around for an individual sport where you can try to improve your skills rather than compete against others.

If you are new to your area ask the kids in your class what sport activities they do.

This site will give you lots of information about sports and keeping safe in your sport.   

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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