The great English writer George Orwell, who gave the world Animal Farm and 1984, once wrote that sport is “war minus the shooting”. He was alluding to international sport and the Olympics, and undoubtedly these are the pinnacles of any professional sporting person’s career.
Where children are concerned, developing an interest in a particular sport or a range of sports activities can be hugely beneficial to their physical and social development. They might aspire later on to reach for the stars in terms of their sporting dreams, but getting them started with a sport is a great way to keep them busy, let them have fun, learn new skills and get to know new people. They can connect with both those their own age and the coaches who take time to nurture and develop their interest.
Many parents today will have been brought up playing a range of sports and will want to introduce their children to the world of sport. They will be aware of the epidemic of obesity difficulties troubling so many young people, and it is not just the US where this is a problem. Sedentary lifestyles and poor diets are the main culprits, so encouraging a more physical lifestyle will not only address this worrying issue but also the related potential diseases of the future.
It has been proven that active people dramatically reduce the risk of a range of conditions, including osteoporosis and heart disease. By encouraging children to take up a sport and exercise regularly, parents are helping them prepare to live full and healthy lives in the future.
Helping a child to have an active lifestyle has a whole range of benefits, not least in helping them to mature in such a way as to be physically active as adults. Apart from the reduction in the risk of disease, it can generate lifelong friendships and equip them with a good understanding of teamwork, always an important feature in the world of work.
There are many benefits for participating in sports as a child, including:
- A reduced risk of obesity
- Improved balance and coordination
- Better cardiovascular fitness
- An improved ability to relax physically and avoid problems associated with muscular tension
- Healthy growth of muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons
- An improvement in sleep
- Developed social and personal skills, allied to confidence, teamwork and leadership.
The all-pervasive charms of the Internet, computer games and television, not to mention essential homework requirements, means that many children adopt a sedentary lifestyle, not participating in physical activity. Addressing that deficit is something that every parent needs to consider so their children can develop both physically and mentally.
Routes to participation
The best way to start off a child’s lifelong enjoyment of sport is to play with them. Shoot hoops in the front yard, making it a fun experience by playing kids versus Mom and Pop, or if there is enough space set up mini soccer goals so they can practice their skills. Maybe take them to the park with a baseball bat, ball and glove and start some gentle throwing, hitting and catching to develop hand-eye coordination.
The next step is to join a local sports club and start getting into the world of coaching, collaboration and skills development. It’s a good time to introduce a child who has developed an interest in one or more sports to participate at a different level. They can get involved in leagues, with the excitement (and sometimes downsides) these can engender, and carry on learning all the time whilst making good friends on the field of play. Parents often have a big part to play in running local clubs so there is the added bonus of being able to watch a child’s physical and social development.
It’s likely that children will have watched a ball game of some sort on the television, so it’s the ideal time to introduce them to a live sports game as a family event. There’s not much to beat the atmosphere of a live match, and Philadelphia is blessed with a rich sporting history and top level teams that play in superb arenas. The South Philadelphia sport complex houses venues for major league basketball and hockey, football and baseball, as well as for soccer.