With everything from netball to snippets, gymnastics and touch football offered in schools and clubs throughout Australia, our children have many choices when it comes to sporting pursuits.
The benefits of sport for children are almost endless. It improves general health and well-being, social development and can even increase brain capacity (1). And just as when choosing a school, parents must be proactive when it comes to selecting a sport that fits their individual child perfectly.
Here is our guide to finding the right athletic chase for your child.
Team sports help boost wellbeing
The many benefits of team sports have been well documented and research has shown that children who compete and play for at least two years before their eighth member of the team are likely to be healthier, do better at school and have a higher social functioning – especially girls (2 ).
A fun, challenging game such as a netball can build communication and teamwork skills, discipline, coordination and stimulate an active lifestyle into adulthood. And children agree – 23.9 percent of the girls aged 9 to 11 play the sport in Australia in 2017
Expose kids to different sports
Whether it’s to see a mother shoot a goal or try Dad’s score on touch-footy, so that your child can watch sports in real life, on television and when they get involved in many different sports when they’re small, can help steer in which direction they are going.
Usually local clubs or schools also offer a trial day. Why not sign up for a different sport every season when they are young? Swimming in the summer and martial arts in the winter perhaps.
Ask your children what they like and dislike, and pay careful attention to signs of enthusiasm when participating in specific activities.
Sport for a lifetime
Some sports are naturally more social – team sports and community sports such as tennis. Tennis clubs are a great place to stay active and meet people far into adulthood, while mixed touch football is fun and great to network.
Netball is another game that can help children (and adults) to make friendships for a lifetime and offers a way to play that is right for you, regardless of your age. Help your children learn the basics of netball with Suncorp NetSetGO, try a competitive netball and great teamwork with Junior Comp, or find a way to play your way through a series of social games.