Playing sports is very important for our children. In a fun and enjoyable way, sports can help them develop motor skills as well as gain interpersonal skills such as high self-esteem, teamwork, sportsmanship and self-discipline.
But how do you choose the perfect sport for your child?
Before you do that and particularly if you wish to raise an athlete, you should start with good nutrition. No need to change their diet completely, you will only need to replace processed food with organic food. For example, you can replace white sugar with honey and flour with whole grain wheat or oats. Your child’s diet also must include high-protein foods - such as meat, chicken and fish for their bodies to build muscles. While fresh fruits and vegetables are important for tissue recovery. Of course, with all this your child should go easy on desserts and sweets to avoid undesired weight gain.
A child who is three to four years old usually plays sports in order to have fun and engage in enjoyable games. It is hard for children in this age to follow rules as they are playing. That's why it is more suitable for them to begin with fitness and/or gymnastics to gain some flexibility, develop motor skills and get in shape.
It is also important to teach a child how to swim starting at the age of four. It is ok to allow them to use two floaters then remove them gradually as they get used to the water and overcome their fears, if any.
Around the age of six or seven, children begin to appreciate the meaning and purpose of rules in each sport. This is the right age for organized sports.
Selecting which sport to play depends on many factors such as flexibility, height, strength and endurance. Here are some characteristics of a child’s body that fit most popular sports:
- Handball /Football/ Tennis: those types of sports require a slim shape with narrow hips to withstand long distance running. Height is also preferable.
- Basketball: tall and long-limbed.
- Artistic gymnastics: small and compact body or V-shaped body.
- Swimming: this needs strong legs because a big part of the propelling force comes from the legs as well as wide shoulders.
- Volley: height and strong legs are required for vertical jumps and throwing the ball over the net.
- Karate: any body type.
- Rowing: strong legs and tall stature. They should be light in weight
- Running: should be light and lean
- Rugby and weightlifting: pear-shaped body with some fat on arms and thighs as well as V-shaped body
It is also important to look for your child personal interest if they’re drawn to a sport which doesn't fit their bodies. However, their enthusiasm and curiosity will motivate them to get in shape and push their boundaries.
We must not forget that the purpose of sports is mainly to have fun, learn life skills and good manners while making friends along the way. Parents and coaches shouldn’t focus on just winning or comparing their child to other children. Doing this will strip sports of its main goal.