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Life Lessons

Sports and Child Obesity

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” ~ Dale Carnegie

If parents are hoping that team sports will help their children lose weight, they better look more closely at the situation.

An article in Time Magazine quotes two studies that suggest the same thing: that forcing kids to exercise may not work.

The first study found that the amount of time students spent in the gym did not affect their overall level of activity. And the second concluded that kids should simply be encouraged to go out and play, not forced to take gym or to join a sports club.

What does this mean to coaches?

It’s a reminder that our programs should be set up so that kids WANT to be there. Activities that are fun and meaningful make kids want to come back. Kids who want to be there listen better, learn more, and retain more than those who are there because they HAVE to be.

Let’s take a closer look at the words “fun” and meaningful.”

As kids grow older, the meaning of fun changes and grows. It’s no longer about riding on the swings or playing in the sandbox. Instead, it’s about acquiring skill and meeting challenges.

And sports become meaningful if kids feel connected to a group, feel they have a purpose in that group, and have their contributions recognized.

The more coaches can make their practices fun and meaningful, the less often kids will be attending simply because they have to.


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