Why is it that kids love sport so much? Because they do - we see it everywhere - My little ones love active sports, running around chasing each other, racing each other, making up games with their very own set of rules, picking up any old ball, bits of sticks and broken toys and creating their own new world. When children get to organised sports they are enthralled - but what is it about games and active sport Kids love?
We all want our children to be active and to have fun, to help them with a foundation for a healthy life. So how can we help and recognise the things that encourage an active child hood and an active teen?
There are lots of views and opinions but one particular piece of research came to my notice recently.
Michigan State University embarked upon understanding this a little more and asked a group of girls and boys what their views were on sport and in particular why they got involved and why they play organised games. The results were very interesting and here are the top five reasons they gave for participating in sport:
1. The top reason was purely to have fun! This is an escape form schoolwork, families and general play. But exercise, playing competitive games is really a great fun thing to do for children.
2. To do something "I’m good at." children gravitate towards things that build their confidence. Nothing builds confidence more than doing things you feel good at and can master. This may also make them feel more at home in a group, to have the confidence they belong.
3. "To improve my skills." Learning is an eternal joy and to develop skills, to improve ones technique, to build better control of a ball or a racquet gives children great satisfaction. Sport provides that feeling of progressing, of getting somewhere and archiving individual development.
4. "To stay in shape". To get fit, keep active, slim and feeling physically great is something we all want our children to be motivated by.
5. "To get exercise." - Children are understanding today that they need to keep fit.
Why is this so very interesting - well it is the thing that is missing that is most intriguing. Sports parents, coaches and almost all of those that surround our children talk and coach them to win! There was no mention in the top ten reasons about wanting to win! To belong to a team, to compete, yes…but not to win!
Research and study after study comes up with the same answer - kids love sports because they have great fun playing them.
So if we make sport too serious, to focused on winning then we lose the fun! At S4K everything is about creating fun for kids sport. Child-centric education, sports and coaching needs to have fun as its foundation. Create a fun environment for your kids around outside activities, sport and general fitness.
The converse statistic is worrying because "not having fun" is the major reason for 70 percent of kids quit playing sports by the time they’re 13. So as parents and coaches we need to focus on the "Fun" and not over stress the winning or the aggression in competition.
If you want your children to play sports, all you have to do is make sure they are having fun.