My son showed a real talent for gymnastics at a young age, helped by the excellent play sessions held at our local gymnastics club. At five years of age he was invited to be part of the development squad. This meant he would go from training for one hour on a Saturday morning to one hour a day, Tuesday through Friday every week. I wasn’t keen on this level of commitment required as it would restrict his opportunities to play other sports and socialize with friends. He then started playing football which soon progressed to two one-hour training hour sessions and one game every week. My fatherly duties of protecting him and leading him into a healthy, balanced lifestyle had been overtaken at such a young age!
But he LOVES it!
Not every child has the desire or passion to commit to what I consider high levels of training in one specific sport, and I still question whether it is necessary. How many children’s dreams have to be ‘sacrificed’ to find that one world class athlete?
My argument against this early specialization was supported in a recent report from Belgium by Job Fransen, from the Department of Movement and Sports Sciences at the University of Ghent which discovered that boys participating in more than one sport before the age of twelve years are more physically fit and have better gross motor co-ordination than those who specialize in a single sport early. (Source: www.momsteam.com)
Sports Coach UK have stated “Specializing in just one sport from an early age does not produce elite athletes nor does it support long term participation.”
It certainly seems that many different experiences in a variety of physical activities are more beneficial to children’s long term adherence to physical activity and sport.
Leeds Metropolitan University suggested that developing Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) is key to physical activity adherence and has more than just physical benefits. ““Children competent in FMS are more likely to enjoy and have a positive attitude towards sport and physical activity. Aside from the obvious health benefits (e.g. lower risk of obesity/cardiovascular disease), research has shown that the increased self-confidence children feel through successfully performing FMS can have a beneficial knock-on effect to other areas of their education e.g. proficiency in reading and writing.” (Source: www.youthsporttrust.org)
ActivKids focus exclusively on Fundamental Movement Skills in fun, physically active games and play. Our programmes inspire children to participate at their level, with child centric lesson plans allowing coaches, teachers and instructors to inspire children rather than achieve specific sport skill development . We all love sport at ActivKids but we believe that FMS will attract MORE children to REGULARLY participate in physical activity and fitness. That is why we have developed training and programme solutions for children from 18 months to 11 years.
Check out how ActivKids can help you TODAY!
Of course my son has made new friends and still gets to play and enjoy other activities with his family. He still runs into every training session and is doing well at school. Until this changes, what can I do?
But I’m not 100% happy!
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