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What Kids Aren’t Doing In Sports

What Kids Aren’t Doing in Sports
Brett Klika

It’s projected that over forty million kids will participate in organized athletics in the United States in the next year. This is the highest rate of participation ever!

This is great news in that forty million kids will be getting some sort of physical activity on a regular basis, hopefully improving the statistic that only about 20% of kids get the recommended daily amount of physical activity.

From a physical development perspective, sport participation can be a tremendous catalyst helping youngsters refine their general physical skills. Unfortunately, due to the fact that kids aren’t as active as they used to be and there is very limited physical education in the schools, there isn’t as much general physical skill to refine any more.

The development of overall physical skill and coordination comes from doing A LOT of different stuff.  As a child’s coordination system develops it’s very plastic. It molds its function based on the demands placed on it. If there are a lot of different demands, the child’s coordination system develops a lot of different functions. If there are only limited, specialized demands, only limited, specialized functions are created.

What that means for our current youth physical activity landscape is that young athletes need to learn the skills of different sports, but also need to work on developing more general physical skills. Young soccer players should be throwing stuff, young basketball players should be kicking stuff, and baseball players should be learning how to swim.

Research has shown that when kids have more diversified physical abilities, they participate in sports longer, have more successful careers, and experience fewer injuries.  They are also more likely to be physically active for life.

Since sports are nearly the only opportunity for physical activity for most kids, the sport coach is now in charge of somehow developing this diverse array of skill. Most coaches don’t have the time or training to do this in the two or three hours of practice they have a week. They barely have enough time and kids’ attention span to teach them the skills for their sport!

It has become important for parents to get directly involved in their kid’s general physical development.

Here are five things you as a parent can do to help your child have a long, successful, athletic career and a lifetime of being physically active:

1.    Make sure kids have time and the capacity to be active outside of sports.  Play!

2.    Find programs or professionals that specialize in general physical skill development (click here to learn about Fitness Quest 10’s after school youth program)

3.    Avoid specializing in a single sport before the age of 15 or 16.  Encourage participation in a wide variety of organized physical activity.

4.    In this short video, coach Jeff King shares with you three fun things you can work on at home that actually develop key aspects of coordination and athleticism.

5.    Make sure that whatever activity a child participates in, they enjoy it.  The number one factor contributing to long -term success in an activity is a child’s innate level of enjoyment with that activity.

When there is more general skill to refine, the result is a better, more successful athletic experience!  One step closer to helping our kids become happy, healty, pain-free adults one day.

To sign up for our Quest Kids Camps, click here or call the front desk team today: 858-271-1171

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