Getting children involved in sport from a young age has many benefits, and can help the problems we face today in society. Sport was my saving grace. I never wanted to be a professional athlete; I just loved participating in sport. When I at the age of 16 to focus on my education, it was when I realised its ultimate powers.
1. Sport improves health and well being
One of the most obvious benefits is that sport helps to keep children fit and healthy. With childhood obesity at a high, sport helps to promote weight loss and improve the health of the heart, lungs and blood vessels. Thus enhancing physical capabilities and increasing a child’s quality of life.
2. Sport increases confidence and self-esteem
Naturally when you feel good physically and mentally you have a positive perception of your body image and self-worth. All of which has a knock on ones effect on self esteem and confidence. Sport helps develop confidence and self awareness by giving children a chance to take risks and make decisions.
3. Sport teaches disciple
To succeed in sports children need to have self-restraint, and behave in a controlled and precise manner. Sport allows children to immediately see the positive results of following instructions. The discipline needed to abide by the rules and regulations of various sports helps children to improve their overall behaviour.
4. Sport boosts academic achievement
Sport helps to reduces stress levels by allowing children to release emotions and energy in a controlled environment. This enables them to focus when studying in class and at home. Sport also teaches children how to cope with failure, identify what went wrong, and embrace it as a learning experience to improve their chances of success in the future.
5. Sport keeps children safe
A bored, unsupervised child is at an increased risk of choosing the wrong things to do with their time. Sport is a great way to keep children and young people off the street, out of trouble, surrounded by role models, involved in meaningful activities and developing valuable skills.
6. Sport breaks down barriers
Sport is a powerful tool to unite children from different cultures and backgrounds. It allows them to meet in a safe environment where similar interests are shared and work with those previously outside their usual circle of friends and forge new friendships.
7. Sport builds competitive mentality and perseverance
Children must learn how to interact in competitive environments as it is something they will face within their personal lives. Healthy competition in sport helps children develop a go-getter attitude and lifelong skills such as determination, self accountability and perseverance, which leads to better coping skills and critical thinking.
8. Sport provides positive role models
Role models can be instrumental in developing career aspirations, educational goals and consumer behaviour. Coaches can be one of the most influential figures in a child’s life. A good coach doesn’t only develop physical skills. they equip children with the socially and mentally with the skills they need in life.
9. Sport develops valuable life skills
Sport helps children learn important social and brain skills such as problem-solving, resilience, perseverance, teamwork, leadership and responsibility, as they learn to work with others to achieve a common goal.
10. Sport creates enjoyment
Sport has the ability to bring out the sheer enjoyment in children. As a child growing up this is very important. The fun experienced while playing sport helps to create valuable bonds between participants, coaches and family members.
Not every child enjoys traditional sports e.g. football, basketball, netball, hockey or rugby, isolated or singular sports such as athletics, boxing, swimming and tennis maybe preferred.
Further alternatives are:
Running or playing in the park
Riding a scooter
Rock climbing or climbing playground equipment
Body resistance exercises, such as sit-ups and push-ups
Either way I encourage all children to find an activity they enjoy so they too can gain from the power of sport!