Knowing the right sport for my child

Are you struggling to find a sport your child enjoys?

According to the World Sports Encyclopedia (2003), there are 8,000 indigenous sports and sporting games that exist, with the 10 most popular sports being shown in the article below.

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the United Kingdom

Having so many different activities to choose from can make it difficult to know the best option for your child. Every child is different, and all have their own personality traits. This can be an indicator of which sport they may enjoy more than others.

First of all, let’s look at the benefits and differences between individual and team sports.

Team Sports

• Increase cooperation and teamwork
• Sense of community
• Teammates learn to support each other (shared responsibility for the outcome)
• Research shows an improvement of performance in a group, encourages children to give their best effort for their teammates

Individual Sports

• Promotes self-motivation
• Strong sense of accomplishment
• Allows for independence
• Can focus on their own personal needs
• Foster mental strength and increased resilience

With these benefits in mind, we can now look at children’s own personality traits to see which type of activity they may be best suited to.

Individual sports like tennis, golf, or swimming may be suited to children who have difficulty following instructions and may excel in sports that offer one-to-one coaching. For example, children with ADHD may find it difficult to wait in line for their turn or act impulsively which may prove difficult in team sports, however, with plenty of individual attention from coaches they are more likely to succeed in individual sports.

Even though the sports activity is labelled as ‘individual’ they are often taught in groups, so your children still have the opportunity to socialize. In addition to this, children who don’t like to rely on other people for performance success would naturally be drawn to individual sports. Children who are more independent would be well suited to these types of activities.

Team sports such as football, netball, or hockey, require patience. It is not only your child’s skills that matter, but also that of the team, and therefore possibly not for children who get easily frustrated.

Having said this, team sports could be right for those who have a short temper as they can learn how to be patient with others and work on their anger management.

Children who are good communicators could also thrive in team games as it gives them the opportunity to improve their teamwork and leadership skills. On the other hand, these types of sports could also benefit kids who are not great at communicating, as it gives them a chance to improve their social skills.

Overall, both individual and team sports have their benefits for all personalities. At a young age, it is important to give children the opportunity to try as much as they can, and as they grow older they can hopefully thrive in a sport they enjoy. All types of sport teach children life skills and improve their mental, physical, and social well-being.