Top 10 Sports to Get Kids in Shape
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
April 7, 2011
Filed Under Sports
Contributed by Robert P. Simon, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
Getting your kid involved in sports at a young age is an excellent way to teach them the values of teamwork, hard work, and discipline, as well as to keep them fit and healthy.
Children who play sports are more likely to succeed in school and build healthy social lives, and the exercise is a better outlet for their energy than chasing the dog or jumping on Mom & Dad’s bed. Of course, it’s important to find a sport that suits your son or daughter’s personality, otherwise practice will quickly turn into a chore. Here are the top ten sports for athletic kids.
An individual sport, tennis is an excellent choice for children with high energy levels. Tennis entails great amounts of running and physical stamina, keeping players in excellent physical condition. It does require the ability to work extensively with coaches on technique and form, so children unable or unwilling to tolerate instruction may quickly lose interest.
An excellent sport for over-active boys (and girls), wrestling builds incredible physical conditioning and willpower. Often considered the best-conditioned and toughest college athletes, wrestlers have a singular focus and unmatched energy. Wrestling is also a great choice for smaller athletes, as separate weight classes ensure an even match for competitors left behind by their overgrown peers playing basketball or football. Not for the squeamish, wrestling can be a painful and emotionally challenging activity.
Many children take to swimming, where the water and individual competition provides a calming environment. Racing appeals to competitive youngsters, while the variety of events ensure that any body type can find a niche. Swimming is one of the best sports for developing cardiovascular endurance and muscle capacity.
7. Martial Arts
Practicing martial arts teaches children the art of self defense, but more importantly it instills a sense of discipline and philosophy in budding board kickers. A good martial arts instructor will teach students how to handle conflict, and how to work through difficulty, while building physical capacity with strength and conditioning exercises and sport-specific techniques. There is the threat of violence in one-on-one sparring, but this can be seen as a way to teach timid youngsters bravery.
A team sport requiring speed, conditioning, and coordination, lacrosse is an ideal way for boys and girls to learn how to work in teams. The game’s fast pace and high amount of running suits children with high energy levels, while the defined team structure helps them learn how to find a role in a team context.
Golf is a funny sport—though not physically strenuous, it can be incredibly frustrating for beginners and seasoned pro’s alike. The constant focus on technique and minutia appeals to a very particular personality, which suits some children perfectly and leaves others running for the nearest basketball court.
4. Ice hockey
Hockey players build great physical stamina and core strength, while learning how to work with teammates. A contact sport, ice hockey can be intimidating for children averse to physical challenges, but the diversity of playing styles and positions makes room for both the agile and the rough-and-tumble.
3. Baseball & softball
America’s sport, baseball or softball is one of the most popular children’s sports and emphasizes both team and individual performance. Players rely on a combination of physical athleticism and sport-specific skills; often children who lack the pure athleticism to excel in faster sports can find a niche by developing hand-eye coordination and positional skills in baseball.
A fast sport requiring a great deal of running, soccer is a surefire to tire out youngsters. The large number of players breeds unselfishness and teamwork, while the large field requires players to develop great physical conditioning. Many children fall in love with soccer, as the thrill of scoring a soccer goal has few sporting equivalents.
Basketball players are often considered the best overall athletes, as the unique blend of speed, power, conditioning, and coordination is unrivaled by other sports. The five-person team requires unselfishness, but leaves ample room for individual creativity and success. Of course, basketball, perhaps more than any other sport, does favor a particular build, so spritely young ballers quickly find themselves left behind by their taller peers.