CONTRIBUTED BY PAUL
For those Oki mamas and papas out there interested in having kids participate in extra-curricular activities such as sports, Paul, dad of 2 young athletic boys, was kind enough to contribute some general information to get your little one started out on the field. Thanks, Paul!
Kadena Air Base offers youth sports for boys and girls year round through the Kadena Youth Sports and Fitness. The list of sports include Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Soccer, Volleyball, Flag Football, Tackle Football (ages11-18), and Cheerleading. To participate in a certain sport during the year, Youth Sports will hold a specific registration when that particular sport is available for participants to join. The different sports seasons include Basketball in the Spring, baseball/softball in the late Spring, soccer in the early-mid-Summer and football/volleyball/cheerleading usually takes place in the Fall. The Sports are then divided into age groups of 5/6 year-olds and 7/8 year-old kids as well as older age groups of 9/10 year-old and 11/12 year-old children. Your child can play until they reach 18 years of age, but it’s not clear how they divide kids up once they get to be 13-years-old. If you’re wanting to put a child in a certain age group (i.e. 5/6 year old football) your child must be 5 or 6 on the first day of practice.
IF a child is 5 years-old or more, a sports physical is necessary for participation. The physicals are only valid for ONE year. Just make an appointment at the hospital or clinic for a sports physical before registration. Physicals must be on file with Kadena Youth Sports the day of registration. The physical must also be valid through the last day of the season.
For 5-18 year-old sports, the programs typically run between 12-15 weeks with two, one-hour practices during the week and a game on Saturday. Uniforms are handed to the child on the first day of practice. If you know your child will be playing a sport, try to get shoes early. There are not too many places to buy football or soccer shoes on the island and those stores sell out quickly.
Kadena Youth Sports also offers programs for 3-4 year olds called First Steps:
First Steps is a program for children aged 3-4 years old. The sports offered for First Steps are: Baseball, Basketball, Soccer and Flag Football. First Steps is a 6 week program that has practices for one hour, one time a week. First Steps introduces team sports concepts to 3-4 year-olds without competition. Young children are given the opportunity to develop early motor skills in a structured program before they enter organized sports so that they will find success, increase self-confidence, continue participating, and enjoy a lifetime of fitness. In the weekly practices, parents are encouraged to be “hands-on” and are thus required to be on the field with your child in stretching, running, and all the instructions the coaches are teaching. Last year I signed my child up for First Steps Baseball. For 5 weeks I was out on the field showing him how to throw a ball, catch a ball, how to hold a bat, hit a ball off a tee. The sixth practice we played a game against another group of First Steppers. After baseball, we did soccer. Same type of thing. There is a main coach who tells us (parents and children) a soccer drill to practice, and for that day you practice a few drills with your child. On the sixth practice, we played a game against another soccer team. Your child has to be 3 years-old by the first day of practice for which ever sport you’re signed up for. There is NO physical required, and a jersey is given to your child on the first day of practice.
HERE is a web site that details the projected sports seasons and when registrations and practices begin.