The right sport for your child

Sports can do more for your child than just increase their physical fitness. They’re also great for building teamwork, confidence and improving body image. Finding the right sport for your child can be challenging, and often you’ll need to stop and start a few along the way.

Making new friends

When your child’s young it can be helpful to have them sign up for a sport with a friend or two. However, it’s also a good idea for them to make new friends at sport – just in case their friend is graded into another team, or decides the sport’s not for them.

Benefits of team sports

Ideally children should try some form of team sport at some stage of their childhood. Playing a team sport builds resilience and teaches many skills that are invaluble throughout life – such as working as part of a team. But you can think outside the square, team sports don’t necessarily mean only football or netball. Rowing, Gymnastics, Dance and Swimming all have team aspects and provide all the benefits. You just need to find the sport that suits your child.

Benefits of solo sports

A solo sport can teach persistence, dedication and build a child’s self-esteem. Even though a sport may be played on their own, there are normally still a lot of opportunities for socialisation and competing with others so the benefits of team sport also apply.

How to choose a sport

Look to your child’s interests, is she extremely active and loves running around? Does she enjoy watching her sisters play netball? Has she expressed an interest in a certain sport? Does she love to dance? Often what we love doing for fun translates to what we’ll enjoy as a sport – so spend some time on-line researching what’s available in your area. You could even spend some time with your child watching clips on YouTube or on a Sport’s channel watching the sport in action.

Trying it out

Most sports will allow your child to try out a session or two without the need to buy a proper uniform or commit to a term or season. Usually your child can go along in a plain shorts and t-shirt combination to see how they like the sport.

Persistence pays

Before your child signs up for a sport it’s a good idea to work out some ground rules on how long they’ll need to commit. Sport can not only be expensive (with specialised uniforms, shoes and fees) but it’s important for children to understand that by leaving mid-way through a term, season or year they will be letting others down (team members, coaches and instructors). If ground rules are layed out before starting, then everyone knows where they stand – and children learn about the benefits of commitment and being part of a team.

Be a good sport

Regardless of what sport your child plays, remember you’re their best role model. Be there to cheer them on and encourage their effort. Teach them the benefits of good sportsmanship and always ensure they shake the other team’s hand and say “Well done”. Sport is a wonderful opportunity for children to grow and mature into healthy, successful adults, and we’re the perfect person to guide them.


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  1. Jen_Wiig 27/10/2017 at 12:42 pm

    My boys are finally into sport they arw bith playing Touch rugby this season which will help prep them for rugby union in the winter months.
    Both Dad and I were right into sports growing up so are glad our boys have shown some interest in a sport…Ive always lo ed how sports has helped to teach kids team work, making friends and commitment.

  2. Bevik1971 27/10/2017 at 11:21 am

    I loved sport as a child and played netball, softball, cross country running etc. I want my daughter to do something that she enjoys, not just play a sport because she feels she needs to. There are more choices out there now, they can take dance classes hip-hop etc if they are not into sport, which keeps them active and is enjoyable

  3. SarahBlair 16/10/2017 at 11:16 am

    My son played soccer for several years and the difference that it made in him was outstanding, he became more social and made some fantastic friends on his team, he also became more laid and easy going, and more adventurous! I would definitely recommend that kids try a team sport!

  4. Angelgirl081 12/10/2017 at 5:26 pm

    As a kid I tried so many different sports (always sticking out the season or year As my parents made sure I wasn’t going to let down the team) it was good to get a feel for each thing, but none of them really took my fancy as I am just not a sporty person.
    Miss 4 seems to have picked up some sportiness from somewhere and absolutely loves sports. She currently does dancing, swimming and we have just signed her up for the athletics season starting next week. Unfortunately there are not many team sports for her age group, where we live but when she turns 5 she is able to join basketball and we will try t-ball next year too as it currently isn’t an option because it clashes with her dance time (dance will be at a different time next year as she moves up a level).

  5. kymmage 05/10/2017 at 10:31 am

    Growing up, I was right into Netball for many years. My eldest would probably struggle with a team sport. But she has done swimming, dancing and balloon tennis. Individual sport works best for her. My youngest is starting to think about sports too. So this is a good list to run past her and see what interests her. Sport is more than physical fitness. All that working g as a team stuff is important in all aspects of life.

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