Bracket Busters, Cinderellas, Upset Specials, Underdogs, the Journey, and of course “Madness." All these terms have become synonymous with the annual NCAA basketball tournament. There are very few events across the country that create the electricity that this tournament generates. The question is, how can you share this exciting time in sports with your family?
Here are 3 ways you can share in the “Madness” with your young athlete:
- Make it a family competition and do a bracket challenge.
- Traditional: Each person fills out a bracket based on who he/she thinks will win each game. Every right pick is awarded 1 point. After the championship game, total the points. Most points wins!
- Based on mascot names: A fun way to enjoy the tournament (especially for young athletes who don’t know much about the sport yet).
- Based on a coin flip: Play the traditional bracket challenge but with a twist! This contest is all about luck and makes things a lot more interesting!
- Point system based on upsets: Similar to a traditional bracket challenge, but instead of awarding 1 point per correct choice, award only 1 point if the team picked is a higher seed and wins. Award 2 or more points if the selected team is a lower seed and wins. This is a great way to make things interesting throughout the entire tournament, and it rewards taking risks!
- Pick a "fantasy" team: Another way to enjoy March Madness is by creating a team from the players involved in the tournament, regardless of what team they’re a part of. Everyone picks 5 players and at the end of each round, tally up your players’ stats. To show value to defense as well as offense, there will be 5 categories to keep track of: Points, Assists, Rebounds, Blocks, and Steals. Once the tournament has concluded, add your 5 players’ stats together, and based on those totals, conclude your winner!
The goal is to pick both players you think will do well all-around AND on teams you think will advance deep in the tournament. This is a little more in depth, but it provides a lot of opportunities to have fun conversations with your athlete while doing research and learning more about the game. It’s a great way to bring excitement to the tournament and get your young athlete more engaged!
- Have a prize: Regardless of what type of game you play, provide incentive. There’s no better way to get the family engaged than to entice them with a reward! Whatever you decide to give the winner, make sure it’s something that all parties involved value or share a stake in. For example, the losers have to do chores or cook the winner dinner. You could also have your own form of a trophy. Be creative! I’ve seen everything from plaques, rings, crowns, or even championship belts!
Make it a point to sit down and enjoy this time with your family. Whether it’s “your team” that you follow or just a game of interest, be willing to sit together and connect with your young athlete. Regardless of what stage they’re at in their athletic journey, it’s always important to relate to their interests and spend time with one another.
This is a great time of year to share with your young athlete. Together, you will be able to watch high-level basketball all day for the next few weeks. Have a cookout, invite teammates and their families over, play games, and watch basketball…what could be better? Why not take advantage of one of the greatest spectacles in sport by enjoying time in fellowship learning the sport, cheering on your team, and creating memories with friends and family this March?
During this basketball tournament season, take advantage of every opportunity to connect with your young athlete. Let us know what method you decided to try with your family and how it worked to create some family-friendly “Madness” at your home this March! #PlayWithPurpose