Importance of organized sport in kids’ life

In the last issue we spoke about the importance of introducing children to physical fitness at early age.

It was pointed out that gymnastics is the activity a child can do from baby age. They may also start swimming and skating at the walking age. At age four parents may start thinking of putting the child to more structural physical activity programs. Back in the Soviet Union children were either suitable for a given sport or they were dismissed from it. The sport was for achievements, not for general fitness or personal enjoyment and grows. Because of these most Russian-speaking families would like their children to be involved in a sport at a serious level. It may be wise to enroll a child to a recreational activity at first to test her likes or dislikes (as well a parents) before deciding what sport to chose to peruse at more advanced level. It is recommended to engage child in serious athletic activity by the age of five or six. The decision in what sport to enroll the child is not easy at times. That is why trying various recreational activities at first are recommended. Benefits of being involved in organized sport are numerous. Besides excelling and learning valuable fitness skills kids develop sense responsibility to their team, sense of belonging, self-confidence, ability to prioritize and manage time. The list goes on and on. Some parents sign kids up for different sport every season but never stay long enough at any to allow the child to learn and grow. Then by age ten or eleven when the child is strong enough to voice an opinion, she will refuse to take any athletic activity instead sticking to a computer, television and telephone hanging out with friends who also have nothing serious and valuable going on in their lives. Parents will have no control over how and with whom she spends her time. Beware of it and plan ahead of time – sign up your child for serious athletic activities at early age. In our club we have girls who are now sixteen years of age, who have been with us since age four. They all without exceptions are good students, busy at school and at the gym. Being teenagers they of course do “teen things” such as talking on the phone, listening to music, shop for clothe, etc. However they practice nine hours a week. The sport has become their world, the friendship they formed will most definitely last a lifetime and the self-confidence and fitness level they obtained will no doubt help them to succeed in other areas of their lives. This is the most important benefit of being engaged in an organized sport. Interesting enough most of our competitive gymnasts do other activities; art classes, team sport - volleyball, soccer, etc. One girl is a Canadian chess champion. With my thirty years being involved with kids athletics and being a mother of three grown children who have gone through competitive sport (two gymnasts and one soccer player) I can surely say that competitive sport develops strong confident, focused, motivated, young people who are able to meet life’s challenges, set goals and work hard to achieve them. This is the definition for high achievers. Is it not what every parent wants for his child? In the next issue we will talk about how to pick the right sport for your child. If you have any questions to the author of this article please call us at 905-760-0092.

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