A couple of weeks ago we discussed the importance of playing. As mentioned before, the importance of playing is beneficial in a variety of ways: it keeps kids active, it helps to reduce the trend of childhood obesity, and it’s fun! In this week’s blog we want to zero in on one of those positives in particular and take it one step further. So, as the title of this post suggests, we are going to map out fun! And no, this will not be a lesson in cartography—I don’t maintain the appropriate drawing capabilities for that to be beneficial for anyone—instead, this will be a discussion that maps out the different ways to keep kids engaged in athletics with a focus on fun.
A study recently completed by a team of researchers at the George Washington University demonstrated how important it is to keep sports fun for kids. The study came to fruition when researchers were trying to figure out why so many kids were dropping out of organized sports so early in life as well as how they can help to try and reverse that trend. They did this by asking a number of kids, coaches and parents what things, they believe, make playing sports fun. The results of that study proved that there are a lot of aspects that make sports fun, which is great news! (Also important to note: winning was toward the bottom of the list. It’s good to know the youth of America has their scruples in the right place!) In the end, the three most important factors of having fun were the following: being a good sport, trying hard and positive coaching.
Let’s extrapolate on this outside of the scientific format because that can become rather mundane, especially when you’ve come to this blog to read about sports and good times, not to listen to statistical analysis.
Keeping kids interested in sports is a fantastic thing, however it sadly is becoming harder to accomplish. Thankfully we know proven methods to keep your kids playing sports because they want to—not because you’re making them. Talk about a win, win scenario! By observing the most important fun factors—being a good sport, trying hard and positive coaching—kids will naturally learn to love sports by having a great time playing them. These three qualities provide the road map to keeping kids involved in organized sports while, most importantly, having fun. If you, as a parent or coach, encourage a child to try their best, to be kind and respectful and to stay positive, sports will become much more enjoyable for everyone.