Sports instruction can help a child to develop a solid understanding of how to learn movement. The relationship between the “mind understanding”, and the “body doing” is fascinating. Learning to follow oral instruction, is an important part of success and encouraging the development of the “listening” factor leads to the development of the “achieving” factor.
In college I studied a subject, which was called acquisition of skill. In a nut shell, it taught us about the behavioral process of how we learn. It had special significance for those of us associated with the Physical Education department, as it provided us with information on how to analyze a complex sport movement and then work out the best way that a student can learn how to do it.
I recently spoke with some parents of some toddlers enrolled in my program to ask them why they considered enrolling their toddler into the Kid Zone tumble classes. Their answers were simple enough. There was agreement that they wanted their child to gain social skills when around other children. They also wanted to give their child an opportunity to find an activity that they would enjoy doing. Excellent answers!
There are great benefits in physical and emotional development when a child participates in the right sport. High on the “benefit list” for getting children involved in their special sport, is not only the development of a child’s athletic abilities, but also the development of their confidence and sense of achievement. Sport helps a child to develop healthy exercise habits, build fitness, and gain physical skills. It can also give a child a sense of belonging, and a sense of purpose and it is up to the parent to find the right sport, where their child feels the desire to try to do well in it.
So, coaches advice here, try to find the sport that your child likes, and begin your search early! Competitive sports may not be your child’s thing, team sport may not “work” . The point is to allow your child enough opportunities to develop skills to try out different aspects of sport, to see what your child will find passion in and will importantly enjoy doing.
From a coaches perspective, we know that the earlier a child begins to follow directions the easier they are to teach. One way to enhance a child’s sporting abilities is to consider enrolling them into a sport program at a young age. Toddlers are naturally active, and I am an advocate of toddlers being good candidates for certain sports. It is amazing these days what youngsters are capable of achieving. There are definitely coaches out there that have worked out how to adapt their coaching style to the capabilities and special considerations of the young participant.
There are many programs on Maui that offer specific classes for the younger participant. Advanced complex skills in any sport can be broken down to their basic elements. Swimming is one activity that can be geared to successfully introduce children and even babies to learn with great results. Tumble/gymnastics can be easily adapted for children as young as 20 months. Martial arts, dance, cheer, soccer, golf, tennis, and other sports have modified programs that accommodate younger children, some as young as three years.
For parents of older children, lets say, it is never too late to get your child into a sport. Each age has its advantages. The mental maturity and reasoning capabilities of an older child can speed through the learning process. Where as with a three year old we are trying to capture their attention long enough to have them focus on the task in hand, the older child will pay attention easier.
Just remember, sport helps the body and the brain work well together. If you can help your child find their sporting niche, no matter what their age, it may be their life line to success.
Image Credit: Kid Zone Maui