How to be a Good Sport

Article by Samantha Schoengold Beranbom

Photography by Yvonne Marchese Photography

Originally published in Fairfield Lifestyle

For Sara Holland, life is a sport. Playing Division 1 softball was followed by a career at the professional level and coaching at top universities. Sara started her business, Sara Holland Sports, 15 years ago and has leveled up sports programs and camps for children 19 months and older throughout Fairfield County. She specializes in small groups as well as 1-on-1 private instruction. Her focus is on building a strong gross motor skill foundation. Sara assesses and develops each athlete's skills to set them up for future success. She has also spent time developing top athletes' mental approach to sport.

Q: What makes your approach unique?

I 100% love what I do.  I lived the life of an active and enthusiastic child who was able to focus and take those skills to play Division 1 collegiate sports.  I teach the fundamentals of sports skills and the development of children’s self-confidence, in a safe learning environment that promotes enthusiasm and a passion to learn. My 4 Pillars: Dream, Desire, Develop, and Discipline; helps guide older athletes to reach their short and long-term goals.

Q: What are some of the benefits children gain when involved in sports?

They gain confidence in their abilities and in their bodies.  They learn to express themselves. Kids learn to fail and they learn to win. All of which can inevitably be applied to all aspects of their lives.

Q: How can parents of non “sporty” kids encourage participation and what is a good first sport/activity?

My belief is every child should learn to develop a love for movement.  When we have control over our bodies, we learn to believe in ourselves.

Q: Nowadays, sports can become increasingly competitive as children get older, what is your one piece of advice for young athletes? For parents?

Do not be afraid of competition.  It exists in all areas of life.  What I teach athletes 12 years and older is preparation.  When we are prepared, we fear less.  When we are doing all the necessary work and giving our best efforts, then at the end of the day athletes and parents should sleep fine. Taking action is the key ingredient.

Q:  As families begin to make summer plans, describe your summer camp programs.

I run a public camp held at Staples High School for 2.5 - 6-year-old. In addition, I offer backyard private camps too. My staff & I introduce everything from learning to ride balance bikes to various sports such as baseball, soccer, LAX and more.  Each week focuses on a fun theme, which connects the sports and activities for that week.  I believe in play-based learning. The camp allows plenty of room for creative individuality and varying abilities in a non-competitive environment. 

Q: What do find the most rewarding about working with kids and young athletes?

I love watching their persistence and effort pay off.  I love watching them push through and overcome the mental and physical obstacles in place.  I most love hearing the joy in their voices and seeing them shout "I did it!"

I most love hearing the joy in their voices and seeing them shout 'I did it!'

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