In a culture that seems to prioritize video games and cartoons over physical activity, it is now more important than ever to motivate your child to get out and play a sport. Working with kids on a daily basis and interacting with them in different sports over a variety of different ages has shown me the gap between kids of the same age in the way they move their bodies and their ability to execute basic human movement and skills is quite scary.
There could be many different reasons for this but I think the most important, is that children, are not participating in regular activity whether it be in a controlled environment (ie a sports team) or just in the backyard. It is clear that the ones that spend their time playing and interacting in different sports are the ones that I see excelling in all areas of their life.
In a four-part series, I will give you my picks for categories of sports I would put children into and why:
- Team Sport
- Combat Sport
A broad one in terms of what’s available and very different in their demands and requirements but there are similar traits in terms of learning and development that come with a team sport.
Teamwork, working towards a common goal and getting your child to understand from an early age of working together and for one another is a great life skill.
Giving kids a sense of belonging, Sports teams cut across social divides pulling kids together and gets them being part of something larger than themselves.
Skill Development, sports. Skills such as passing and catching, hand-eye coordination, learning to run, evade, jump and land. I cannot think of a sport that doesn’t incorporate the basic skills that are required in almost most sports.
Keeps them Occupied – Kids get into trouble when they have extra time on their hands. So having them participating in sport will occupy their time and should develop a certain level of commitment to the sport as they will not want to let their teammates down. It also should have them spending less time on mobile devices and outside moving.
Perseverance – Hard to teach in abstract but when your child participates in a sport they will endeavor to become good at it, and the skills within the sport. They will experience failure but then develop the skill of perseverance at the same time in trying to become better.
Communication Skills – The key to working in any team is communication and your child while playing sport will learn to communicate under different pressures and this skill will last long after your child leaves the sports field.
Team sports create memories and friendships that last a lifetime, the opportunities to experience different cultures and countries through playing sport are an added bonus in the long run, but a reason also that some people try and make a career out of it. So get your kids off the tablet and away from the TV give them a ball or a bat and keep them outside till its dark. You will not regret it!
By: Jamie Clarke, Performance Coach