Children’s sports vs children’s bootcamp’s/fitness classes

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Today’s blog is not so much about Martial Arts for kids; rather, it is a blog about the benefits of sports for kids and outline the idea against children’s bootcamp. Yes it includes Martial Arts as one of many sports that a child can benefit from, although, today is more just food for thought.

Recently we have seen a rise in ‘Kids Bootcamps’ and ‘Kids Fitness classes’. Please don’t be fooled by these marketing terms and these concepts.

Engaging children in Exercise and fitness training is a very positive concept. However, if you get the delivery wrong it can be not as positive. Enrolling children in fitness classes or bootcamp style classes may get the kids off the couch and involved in exercise, however, does it give them the same benefits that traditional sports will? (Please note, that it is my opinion that Exercising/Bootcamp is not a sport,it gets the kids learning various strength and fitness building exercises however it lacks all the major characteristics of a sport and does not promote many of the same values that a traditional sport can. )

Lets take a quick look at some benefits of sport.

Kids that play sports and commonly found research show, especially girls, are more likely to have a positive body image, decreased obesity and higher self-esteem. Team sports help build their confidence by proving that they’re valued for more than just their looks. Kids are less likely to take drugs or smoke because they realize the impact that these destructive activities can have upon their performance.

Having sporting role models can also benefit kids and directly influence these thoughts and understanding. How many bootcamp or fitness class role models can you think of for a child?

Kids who play sports quickly learn that you cannot win everything and learn that sometimes you will lose. It teaches sportsmanship. You see kids develop teamwork and leadership skills. They start to understand their own strengths and weaknesses and self analytical skills that are needed throughout life.

Many professionals have outlined continuous benefits and impact sports have on children. Sports psychology Jim Taylor, Ph.D., states that sports build confidence, develop focus, and teach kids about emotional control. “Kids learn essential life skills, such as hard work, patience, persistence, and how to respond positively to setbacks and failure.”

Strategic thinking, motor skills and even math skills are learned by playing sports. They learn basic mathematical skills through scores and statistics. They think of ways to out play and compete against individuals and teams.

Furthermore, Dr Glyn Roberts of the University of Illinois states that “It is also within sport that peer status and peer acceptance is established and developed.”

Think about the benefits as well for parent and child bonding. Creating a relationship where you can view games or matches together and discuss a sport that they are involved and you actively support them in. This is something you cannot do as easy with a bootcamp or fitness class.

Do not get me wrong, I am not discouraging fitness training or bootcamps for children as any exercise, promotion of exercise for children is a great idea. The real purpose of this blog is to lay out the facts and benefits of sports and encourage all parents to focus on putting their child in sports. Let the child even try a variety of sports. Some of the qualities I mentioned above will develop a child’s character and will promote a much healthier response to exercise rather than a bootcamp or fitness class.

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