You’re committed. It’s time to get the kids off the couch and participating in some sort of regular sporting activity. But which one do you choose? Are individual sports better than a team pursuit, and what is the right balance between fun and developmental needs?
According to a study by the National Alliance for Youth Sport over 70% of kids in the US drop out of organised sport by the age of 13. Why? Because they deem ‘it’s no longer fun any more’. So to avoid selling off last season’s uniform and equipment on eBay, narrowing down the choice is important.
That’s why the experts from Stamford Children’s Health suggest we first asses our child and their readiness for sport. Find activities that will fit their current personality and interests, as well as help them develop in areas where they’re not as strong.
Here are a few considerations to help choose the right sport for your child.
Most kids will begin to develop basic motor skills from the age of 6 and more complex ones from around 10. Find a club that caters their teaching to different age brackets so kids only perform activities suited to their physical and mental ability.
Take this on a case by case basis. Some children mature later and many today have learning difficulties. This will impact on what sports will be suitable. Consider that younger children may not be familiar with taking directions from a coach or instructor, or working as part of a team.
Given the high drop out rate, finding a sport your child is already interested in is a great starting point. Remember, it’s not always what it seems on TV. Find clubs that offer a free trial class to ‘test the waters’ before you’re required to sign up for a lengthy membership.
If you have more than one child and limited transport options, consider your existing and future schedules carefully. Is there an option where all children can train at the same time and place? Are there multiple training days and times available?
Cost and Time Commitments.
The last thing you want is to put constraints on an activity you initially encouraged, so consider how the sport will ‘fit’ as your child gets older. How often will they need to train and, will they be required to compete? Are there additional costs as they progress?
Who’s in Charge.
Make sure the coach or instructor is the type of person you want influencing your child. Does the club have a ‘non-discrimination’ policy? Do they teach strong personal values as well as physical activity?
Long Term Benefits.
Most sports will offer some form of physical, if not developmental benefits, but it’s up to you to decide if these are the right ones. Where do they need the most support or guidance? Is this an activity they will benefit from as they mature?
Don’t be surprised if you end up trying more than one sport or activity. As your kids develop, so will their needs and interests. Even if a sport isn’t the right fit, always help them take away positive experiences and valuable life lessons.
GKR Karate is suitalble for kids aged from five. Although all ages and levels train together, we cater for each developmental bracket in our structured course content. We run classes 7 days a week and offer a free trial lesson.