While some children will be itching to get involved in organised sport, others will prefer other pastimes and require some encouragement to participate. However, with physical activity being so important for youngsters, just how can coaches and parents and coaches inspire kids into playing sport?
Sport can help to improve physical health and a variety of other areas of development, including teamwork and sportsmanship. For those who are not interested in sport or are currently reluctant to participate, the following tips should be considered in order to get them involved on a regular basis.
Act as a Role Model
Children generally take on board information surrounding how to behave from their parents, meaning that it is hugely important for you to be a good role model at all times. Part of this process will be to play sport with your child, showing them just how enjoyable it can be. Whether it be heading to the local park and using jumpers for goalposts or hitting the nearest tennis court for the first time, it will quickly become apparent as to which disciplines they enjoy the most.
Some youngsters feel the pressure to succeed more than others, with a missed shot in football or a misjudgement on the basketball court potentially effecting their self-confidence, and in turn their willingness to continue participating. As a result, it is important for parents and coaches to stay positive at all times, reminding kids that fun is the main goal and that winning is of secondary importance.
Sport should not take over the life of any child, with it being important that they retain interests elsewhere, including their studies. As a result, those in charge must understand the limits of youngsters, which is likely to be effected by their age and personality. Persistence is a characteristic that should be encouraged, however it should not be to the detriment of the individual.
Limit Screen Time
Many children quickly become attached to their handheld device, however it is key that parents point out alternatives, including sport. You will be surprised as to how quickly your child forgets about their tablet once they start having fun on the sports field.
Purchase Equipment Together
A first pair of football boots or a new cricket bat is likely to encourage participation too, and while this is not a process that should be take place on a regular basis, children are likely to enjoy the experience of picking up a new item with their parents.
Start Them Early
There are numerous advantages to starting children out in sport at an early age, including that they are more likely to see involvement as part of their life. As well as this, those who participate in sport from early on are likely to gain more experience than others, improving their confidence in the process.
Explore More Diverse Options
Traditionally popular sports such as football or cricket may not be appealing to all, so it may be important for parents to take advantage of some of the more diverse disciplines available to children today. Whether it be martial arts, ice skating or dance, there are now a huge number of alternatives available to kids, meaning that everyone can find something to suit their personality.
A recent study found that the social interactions in which people who participate in team sports get are far more beneficial than exercising alone, potentially even adding years to your life.