Who wouldn’t want their kid to build confidence, be active, make new friends and learn the value of good sportsmanship? With so many benefits, organized sports have become the after-school activity of choice for kids and parents.
Unfortunately, 70% of children quit organized sports by age 13, according to the National Alliance for Youth Sports. The Springfree Trampoline online team wondered if this statistic had links to stress and pressure from parents, coaches and teammates.
We asked if you thought children’s organized sports were becoming too competitive:
“Definitely too competitive. I find it hard to teach my children that all the fun is in the playing, not the winning.” – Carly from Facebook
“I think we ask our kids to be on select teams far too early. The kids who are starting at 2nd and 3rd grade end up missing out on other activities because they are dialed into just one sport. Also, by focusing on one sport there is a great risk of repetitive motion injuries.” – Nanette from Facebook
Child psychology research shows it is possible to start too early when it comes to organized sports. For children under 10, the concepts of competition, effort and ability may be difficult to grasp. At a young age, it’s most important for children to develop passion for a particular sport.
It’s also essential to strike a healthy balance between competition and fun. As a parent, you can take the initiative to reduce competition-related stress for the children. Springfree fan Kerum suggests: “[My son is] only 6, we have run into a few coaches and a few parents who take it way too seriously. Some of the leagues we have played with have a rule to only cheer FOR kids, not against the other team.” What an encouraging rule!
If the stress of competition is overwhelming, try an alternative to organized sports like swimming, rock climbing or jumping on a trampoline! These activities have just as much health and fitness benefits as organized team sports.
For parents, the best thing they can do is set a positive example for their children. A parent’s active lifestyle is a powerful stimulus for a child. When your child follows in your active footsteps, be sure to praise, reward and encourage them.
How do you foster a love of activity in your children?
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