Children playing baseball photo

THE Australian Sports Commission says there are a wide range of social benefits of children playing sport.

"The value of having young people participating in physical activity can often be overlooked," the commission's website says. "Yes, they want to have fun and be active and healthy, but what about the importance of making friends, feeling as if they fit in and limiting their amount of free time with no direction.

"Involvement in sport is one way young people can develop self-confidence and high self-esteem. Participating in sport and other forms of physical activity can assist in building your child's confidence as well as allowing them to gain a sense of achievement. For a lot of kids, sport is their chance to shine, but others can get demoralised. So remember to make sure the sport your child plays is the one they're best suited to so that they can maximise their own potential."

Researchers have suggested that exercise can help ease some common mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression.

"No one enjoys being left out of the pack, or be a loner. That's where sport provides bonding and a sense of belonging," the commission says on its website. "It also challenges them to work in a group and encourages them to think of others.

"Kids like to feel part of a team and with sport they can feed off the energy and enthusiasm of their teammates. Providing young people with fun activities has proved to be a way to lessen boredom, which can sometimes lead to antisocial behaviour and activity."

Why do young people play sport?

Young people play sport for a number of reasons but generally include:

  • To have fun with their friends
  • For excitement and enjoyment
  • To experience challenges, achievement and personal responsibility
  • To improve their skills.

Why do young people stop playing sport?

There are a number of factors that influence a young person’s decision to play sport and also to drop out of sport. What we do know is that young people do not enjoy sport when:

  • There is an over-emphasis on winning by parents, coaches and others
  • They don’t get enough playing time
  • They cannot play with their friends because of imposed grading systems
  • There is high praise for the best performers and little acknowledgement of others
  • They are made to feel uncomfortable
  • The coach is overly authoritarian.

To find out how your child can participate in sport, contact us today, or search for the range of sports available to you in your local area. 

*Source: Australian Sports Commission; Article originally published by the St. George & Sutherland Shire Leader.