‘The Perfect Fit’
‘The Perfect Fit’
Finding the right sport for your child
By Mark Colgan
The foundations are in place, now for the framework. Your child is enjoying their upbringing in an active environment but the next step is discovering the correct sport for your child.
Choosing the right sport for your child can be a big decision. As parents we know that not all children have an interest in sport. However, such are the benefits of playing sport, both socially and physically, it is worth taking the time to help your child find a sport that they can enjoy.
The most important time for developing our children’s interest in sport is during the primary school years and an interest in sport at this stage provides the foundation for a lifetimes enjoyment. Children who have not developed an interest in sport by secondary school find it hard to get involved and often regret not having played sport at a younger age. It’s an a child’s nature to be inquisitive, so when s/he is seeking an answer regarding a sport, may it be on the television, in a magazine or in the nearest park, it’s important that we try our best to be informative and allow the children form an understanding and build a like for the sport if they so wish to.
As I’ve previously mentioned in an earlier blog the problem with children’s inactivity in Ireland needs to be addressed and although all family’s lead hectic lifestyles, it’s important as parents, we incorporate time into the weekly schedule for our children’s sports. For the younger ones their willingness will come from watching big stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Johnny Sexton or Roger Federer and encouragement should be un-equivocal. The fundamentals of a child’s athleticism the ABC’s (Agility, Balance, Co-Ordination) can be developed through a range of sports and will enable your child to form an early understanding of how their body works in relation to sport. It’s important for parents to be patient and if possible allow your child to discover a variety of sports which s/he may wish to pursue through adolescence and into adulthood.
While most children will enjoy par-taking in team sports, there are many who won’t and may wish to participate individually. Again encouragement is imperative while undertaking an individual sport as it can require more confidence and self-belief than those within a team who build and bond together.
Here are a few tips to help your choose find the right sport:
- Take the child’s interest and abilities into account- e.g Children who love running, expending energy may like athletics
- Take the child’s age into account- Younger children need easier and more manageable sports while the older, more developing child may seek a challenge. e.g(5-9) fun sports such as tennis, gymnastics, basketball;(10+) golf, tennis, hockey, cricket
- Give your child the opportunity to try different sports- Children will not know of exactly which sports they like and dislike unless they’re afforded the chance to try
Finally, when helping choose the right sport, don’t allow perception hold you back from navigating your child in the right direction. It’s a common flaw among parents, when one has not played a certain sport as a past-time that they are reluctant to gravitate towards it despite their child’s possible interest. Also don’t be swayed by a portrayal which some sports may have, i.e Rugby- dangerous, Golf- expensive, if your child is happy and enjoying the sport make a judgement together.
Until next time,