New research sponsored by BT Coaching for Life, has found football to be the most sociable sport, with 59% of children who play football regularly having 17 friends or more. Three quarters of those parents described their kids as active and sporty. The top ten most social sports were revealed to be:
1. Football – 59%
2. Swimming – 56%
3. Rugby – 20%
4. Ballet/dance classes – 19%
5. Athletics – 18%
6. Netball – 16%
7. Martial Arts – 16%
8. Tennis – 15%
9. Cricket – 13%
10. Gymnastics – 13%
[The percentages relate to children with 17 friends of more]
Coaching for Life programme is aimed at 6 to 11 year olds, and encourages parents and carers to help children try different sports. The programme also includes 12 flexible games available as a downloadable application. The smart phone application means that wherever and whenever you want to get involved in sport, the Coaching for Life games are always in your back pocket. The resource is part of the Communication, Collaboration and Citizenship strand of Get Set, the official London 2012 education programme.
The survey also revealed that nearly two thirds of parents (60%) actively encouraged their kids to join teams and clubs to increase their circle of friends and more than half of parents (57%) believe that by taking part in sports their children’s friendship groups will grow.
The figures highlight a strong link between being involved in sports and popularity, as the more teams and clubs a child is active in, the more interaction they will have with peers resulting in more friendships.
Leon Taylor, former Olympic silver medallist and BT Coaching for Life ambassador, said: “Make praise your main tool, the most powerful tool you have as a coach is praise – but be careful to ensure you praise effort not talent. Remember to always be enthusiastic and lively to keep the children engaged and interested. Let children know that mistakes are okay. Finally and most importantly make sure you have fun!”
The research also revealed that 86% of parents would rather their children take part in sports and outdoor pursuits, than playing computer games or watching TV indoors.
The research found that being involved in sports not only means children are more social, but they are better behaved too, nearly half (44%) of teachers surveyed said sporty children concentrate more and are well behaved in class.
by Arthur Furrowfield