Does it matter if your kids are athletic?
On Sunday I took my kids to an outdoor event called the Kids Sports Series. This program is run by the Sports Academy Foundation whose mission is "Empowering Human Potential through Personal Development of Mind, Body and Spirit." How awesome is that? I'm in! The Promenade at Westlake sponsored this event to coincide with the launch of a new Nike store. Kids ages 3 to 10 had the opportunity to: 1) learn proper technique through real football drills, 2) test soccer speed and agility with shooting and dribbling, and 3) work on balance, strength and confidence running through an obstacle course. These skills were taught by trainers from the Sports Academy who really knew how to get kids excited to try new things, which is often a challenge in this age group.
My 3 year-old son is a sports fan, so he was game for everything. He stood in front of the soccer station for at least an hour. I can't get him to do anything for an hour! (Right?!?) A machine pumped balls out and he diligently learned to stop it, line it up and shoot.
I'm not sure I've ever seen a smile so big as when he "caught" an actual football, with a little assistance of course. (Warning my voice is really loud at the end. I was psyched!)
On the other hand, my 5 year-old daughter wasn't into football or soccer. She headed straight for the obstacle course and by the end of the 2 hours had rearranged it for them into something almost artistic to look at, yet challenging to complete. "It's so much fun. I'm doing activity," she said, which I believe reflects my little spiel about how great physical activity is for our bodies.
Many parents don't want to raise their children in organized sports because of the health risks (hello concussions!), the competitive-at-all-costs nature of some activities, or simply because of time and money. Does it really matter if your child engages in sports? The answer is yes and no. The benefits of participation in league sports are well-documented:
However, according to the National Alliance for Sports, about 20 million kids engage in organized sports each year, and 70% quit by age 13. The overwhelming reason is, "it's stopped being fun." Fun cannot be underestimated.
Physical activity is a key pillar of good health. What does that look like for you and your family? It doesn't have to mean organized sports. It doesn't have to be expensive. It just has to happen. Take a walk, go to the park, throw or kick a ball, and then share with your kids how this is benefitting their bodies, and why it will make them strong, healthy adults. Let them feel their heart pounding after running around, a favorite of my 5 year-old. Model this healthy behavior for them. Show them that you're having fun!
As we left the event my daughter said proudly, "I'm athletic!" She is. I am. YOU ARE. So, as Nike says, "Just Do It."