Swim Life Magazine- Summer 2015
An Active Start for Kids in Sport
By Melissa Willson
Adult and Youth Community Triathlon Coach, Personal Trainer and Swim Coach
It is important to provide children with every opportunity to have an Active Start and develop Physical Literacy. It provides children with the foundation skills, knowledge and attitude to be successful throughout their life. Developing Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) allows children to gain confidence and control their body in a wide range of physical activities and sports.
Kids have gone from playing on the streets afterschool to playing on the couch. Depending on the area you live in there could be several reasons to not allow young children to play unsupervised in parks or the streets afterschool. However, that is in no way an excuse for the sedentary lifestyle that is more common than not these days. It is so crucial for our youth to have exposure to activities that will lead to being Active for Life.
Studies show us time and time again that we all need to take better care of our physical and mental health. The easiest way for children (and adults) to improve their overall health is to get involved in sports or activities. Exploring a variety of sports is a great way to allow children to learn new skills but it will also keep them active, healthy and happy. The drawback to organized sports is that children may end up devoting too much time and energy into one sport and this can lead to overuse injuries or resentment if being pushed too hard at a young age. They also may not have the opportunity to experience other sports due to overscheduling of their chosen sport. It is a good idea to allow children to explore many different sports and activities and allow them to narrow down and specialize as they get older.
Based on the research behind the Triathlon Canada Long Term Athlete Development plan it is recommended that they begin specializing in a sport at age 13 for females and 15 for males. Up to that point they should be exposed to a wide variety of sports and activities.
Introducing children to the sport of Triathlon is a perfect solution. Children have the opportunity to learn to train in three sports simultaneously. Early on the focus is on learning the Fundamental Movement Skills and safety. The ABC’s (agility, balance, coordination and speed) are mastered during this stage. As children develop they begin to learn the fundaments of the sport and even if they never compete in a race the skills they develop in triathlon training will remain with them for life.
Swimming, Biking and Running are lifelong skills that can keep us all active for life!
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