When you can stimulate your mind to the extent that you can actually remember what you were doing during your childhood, apart from eating candy and playing the Commodore 64/Sega Mega drive/Playstation (substitute the games console of your childhood), if you were anything like me then you can probably vaguely remember having quite a healthy sports obsession.
Many kids have a particular fondness for playing soccer. From idols such as Eric Cantona and David Beckham at Manchester United, through to the more sophisticated players such as Zinedine Zidane at Juventus and Real Madrid. Children all over the world are literally obsessed by soccer, and really this can’t be a bad thing. Despite the celebrity lifestyle and huge sums of money involved in the sport now, the benefits are actually very worthwhile – it gets the kid off the couch and gets them out playing sports. This is an incredibly powerful act, giving the child many health benefits, both physically and mentally stimulating them. It teaches them to work in a group, to make friends, to look after their body, and most importantly that if they want to become a professional they’ll need to work incredibly hard.
Having an addiction for soccer can have more benefits too – it may motivate children to try their hand at other sports too. Here are the top ten sports for kids.
Okay so it may be a bit of a boring choice, practically everyone in America loves baseball and just about everyone plays it (of softball, if you’re a girl). It’s a great game to teach kids to work as a team, plus you don’t need much to play – just a bat and a ball.
Although perhaps quite a sophisticated sport to choose for children, badminton is incredibly fast and intense to play. It teaches you that technique, speed and agility are very important in sport, and when playing doubles it can be a very good way to improve communication within a team of two.
Again it may appear to be a slightly technical or adult sport for kids to participate in, but in our eyes golf should always be in the top ten sports for kids. It is nearly 100 percent about technique, and of course the only way to improve your technique is by practise. If kids learn from this sport that technique, and therefore practice and application is everything in sport, then they’ll have learnt a great deal.
Maybe if you’re a quite pro-America then you’d prefer another similar physical sport like American Football, otherwise you should definitely give rugby a go as a child – or encourage your child to play if they’re willing to. It may look incredibly violent and physical for kids to get involved with, but really it’s another great way to teach them to work as a team and to not be scared of a little physical contact.
Thinking back to your own childhood may bring back fond memories of tennis. In particular, smashing the ball as hard as possible at your unfortunate tennis partner (If you were anything like me!) and seeing if he or she (if their sex didn‘t bother you either) could return it. That said, tennis is actually a very difficult but rewarding sport. Again technique is king here, and when playing doubles it really helps to build communication skills too.
Okay so we’re not completely sure this could be classed as a sport, but if it is then its definitely in our top ten sports for kids. Hopefully the professional sport doesn’t send out the wrong messages (the best players are invariably the size of 3 grown men and the matches take place in glorified pubs), but to actually play the game is very much an art form. It really helps with your concentration skills – important as a youngster, and it can be so frustrating that it builds your patience too. If you’re worried of the end result of mixing young, inquisitive children with small, sharp pointy objects then this isn’t the kind of game for you. An alternative could be to play a magnetic form, or with an electronic darts board.
Again we’re not too sure if this classes as a sport but its clear that its one of the most popular activities in the world, and rightly so. Recreational fishing rewards patience and skill. It can be a real skill to decide what type of tackle to use (there are so many factors involved) and then which part of a lake/river to fish, where to cast, how to reel in or “play” your fish, how to unhook the fish and safely release it back, repairing any damaged tackle or fixing any tangles. There is so much to learn with fishing, and when children are able to play they can really enjoy feeling as if they are part of nature.
Some people despise athletics, whilst others loved it. You might describe it as a “Marmite“ sport, yet deep down we all know its one of the most popular sports – just look at the reaction the London Olympics got last summer. Its such a broad category that there’s something for all children. When sports day comes around every year you know for a fact that all the fat kids will be doing the shotput, all the tall kids doing high-jump, and the sport “jocks” doing the 100 metres sprint. There’s literally a sport for everyone, so no-one really feels left out.
9. Table tennis
To put it simply, table tennis is one of the most addictive things to play in the world. When you have a bat in hand, a ball in play and a full-sized table there’s nothing that beats the feeling. Building up an epic rally with your partner, attempting crazy shots that you never thought would be possible, and then occasionally smashing a ball clean in half. Table tennis is a fast paced, very skilful game which kids (and adults) simply love.
If you’ve followed the article from the beginning its probably no surprise to you that soccer tops the list of our favourite top ten sports for kids. We think that actual research exists which backs us up on this one, with soccer being one of the fastest growing and most participated sports in the world. Even in America its starting to grow, thanks to former players like David Beckham in the MLS, and now Thierry Henry. We’re certain that one day it will rival the likes of Basketball and Baseball, thanks to the massive marketing potential the sport brings. Football is a real mixture of sporting fitness with technical ability, and again we feel there’s a position for all kinds of children. If you’re fast and quick then you’ll make a good winger or striker (helps if you can score goals too), if you’re slow but strong then a central defender or midfielder could be your position, if you’re intelligent and creative then midfield is your place, if you’re agile and with quick-reflexes then you’d make a top goalkeeper.
Whatever sport you decide on, just get out there and give them a try, although this is the top ten sports for kids there’s no reason why you can’t play and enjoy a sport we’ve not listed here, and you don’t have to be under the age of 18 to enjoy them either!