Friday, September 27, 2013

Guest Post: How to Help Your Child Choose a Sport

Sports are an excellent way to boost a child's self-esteem, develop coordination, learn valuable teamwork skills and keep fit. Thus, sports activities for children should be an integral part of any lifestyle and as we will see a bit later, the benefits can also directly affect a child's aptitude for learning and intellectual growth.

Different Sports for Different Abilities

One of the greatest advantages of sports games is the fact that there are literally hundreds of different activities to choose from. These will directly correlate with a child's athletic prowess and physical abilities. Each child will have a unique goal and this should be catered to as best as possible. For example, a young boy may wish to excel in basketball while a girl may instead show a keen interest in dancing or gymnastics. The main goal is to listen to these desires and encourage such enthusiasm. This is important, for each child will display their own level of athletic prowess. Supporting these dreams will give children the necessary confidence to put forth the necessary amounts of effort.

Success Measured by Observable Results

Another key aspect of all sports activities for children are the simple fact that success or failure is much more palpable than in other areas of life. Scoring a goal or winning a karate competition are milestones in a child's life that will help to instil a great deal of pride and a sense of personal achievement. However, there are also important lessons to be learned in regards to humility when dealing with loss. These tools will directly correlate to a child being better equipped to deal with real-life situations when he or she becomes an adult. Also, teamwork and a healthy competitive nature are all but essential in the real world and learning these attributes can help a child to understand the importance of group progress and goal setting.

Sports Inside and Outside of a Scholastic Environment

As mentioned earlier, there are a host of activities to choose from. Thankfully, some sports games are not gender-specific. Some examples of these can be:
  • Bowling
  • Swimming
  • Track
  • Golf
  • Karate
These can be enjoyed by both sexes and can be learned at very early ages. Obviously, sports such as wrestling, football, boxing and basketball are generally be classified by gender.

Sports such as baseball, football, track, basketball and swimming can most likely be enjoyed in a scholastic environment. More unique choices such as karate, golf and bowling will most likely be found in extracurricular programmes. Nonetheless, these sports are still quite valid options when supervised by trained professionals.

Personality is Important

Another consideration that parents and educators should take note of is the fact that a specific sport will tend to correlate to the personality of a child. Children that are more solitary by nature can find immense enjoyment in activities such as weightlifting or golf, as there is little need for teamwork. More gregarious children will obviously be more keen to participate in team-oriented activities such as baseball or football. Each position should be encouraged, as the child will find a greater satisfaction playing a sport that he or she feels comfortable with.

Applications to the Learning Process

As mentioned earlier, performance and a sense of achievement will frequently lead to scholastic achievement. Children’s sports help youngsters to learn about the importance of key values such as honesty, teamwork, fair play, respect for themselves and others, and  adherence to rules. Plus research shows it helps to improve the learning performance of children, encourages school attendance and a desire to succeed academically. The value of the educational benefits of sport should not be under-estimated.
So, it is easy to see that choosing the right sport will have a notable impact on a child's overall development. Encouraging his or her desires, fostering healthy levels of competition and adopting a hands-on interest in a child's choices will all enable the child to excel both inside and outside of a scholastic atmosphere. 

Guest writer Carl Pandini blogs about sport and education for Davies Sports, a PE Sports equipment supplier in the UK.

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