Absence of youth sports can impact kids

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- The Schmidts are one of the many families in the Metro-area holding out hope that their kids will get to participate in little league regular-season games this year, despite the regional championships and Little League World Series being canceled for the first time in history.

Brody and Kali Schmidt play catch in their yard in Omaha as they await word on a potential Little League season on Friday, 5/8/20. (Rex Smith)

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Brody and Kali Schmidt are both in the minors age group at the Keystone Little League in Omaha.

They're both practicing at home, but are really hoping they can join their teams soon.

“I can’t wait to get on the ball field because it’s been boring,” Brody said.

“I mean, it’s rough on parents but it’s also rough on kids because when it comes to youth sports, it just puts us on a schedule,” their mom Nicki Schmidt said. “They’re staying busy, but I do think, you know, it’s the friends, it’s the teammates, it’s the mentors and the coaches that they look forward to seeing.”

Becky Meline is a clinician and the owner of Focus Therapy, a West Omaha counseling practice.

She has sports psychology certifications, as well.

In her experience, she's seen kids slowly begin to struggle more and more with the lack of youth sports and having that outlet.

She encourages all the kids she works with to find ways to stay in communication with their friends.

“We’re social creatures and kids are, you know, we’re meant to be around people. We’re meant to be connected with people. When you take that away, especially kids – just developmentally where they’re at – friends are one of the most important aspects of their life,” Meline said.

Meline also thinks it's important for parents to find ways to keep their kids goal-oriented and competitive so they don't lose their drive to continue practicing at home.

“Pay attention to your kids, and if you notice a major shift in how they’re feeling or how they’re acting – it’s something that you don’t recognize – have a conversation with them," Meline said. "Ask them how they’re doing because it is -- it’s taking a toll on kids. It’s taking a toll on everybody, parents included."

The Schmidts have been finding ways to do just that. Nicki keeps her kids updated with the updates she gets from the Keystone Little League organization on when there could potentially be a season.

The family all said they're hoping it's sooner rather than later.