When running a youth event, regardless of what type of event it is, the most important thing you can remember is to make sure the kids have fun. When the kids are having fun, it keeps them engaged in the moment. You could be running an event that focuses on teaching them calculus, but if you make it fun for them, the kids will learn even if they don’t know it. That’s why a key component of coaching “The Ripken Way” is to make it fun.
A perfect example of that would be our game Quickball. A lot of kids seem to find baseball too slow when they first start playing it and get discouraged. However, Quickball is essentially baseball, just played at a much quicker pace. There is constant movement and you don’t even have to be a great baseball player to be good at it. Playing Quickball with the kids allows us to teach the fundamentals of baseball without them knowing it. We like to apply this principal to every event we do.
Now, how do you make sure the kids have fun? Below are a few suggestions from us at the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation:
- Structure – Structure is one of the most important things you can do to ensure a successful event. Always have the kids moving and doing something. Idle time is your worst enemy because you lose their focus and, quite frankly, the kids get bored. Make it easier on yourself and plan something for every minute of the event.
- Energy – BE ENERGETIC when you’re engaging with kids! They feed off of your energy and it creates a great atmosphere. If you’re not into it, they’re not going to be either.
- Have fun – Don’t be afraid to have fun and act like a kid yourself. If you’re having fun, it’s more likely that they are, too!
These are just a few tips on making an event fun and enjoyable for the kids. You can find a number of other tips and even some new games in the HCHC: Fitness Edition under the HCHC section of the Materials page.
If you have any other ideas or suggestions, please share them below!