Sports and fitness activities have always played a key role in the development of character as well as a healthy body and mind. We all know how team sports can actually help in developing a sportsman spirit, encourage teamwork and help young men and women to learn better social skills. It is due to this reason that major schools and educational institutions have always emphasized on physical education and sports activities. Whether it is playing basketball, baseball, football, tennis, swimming, hockey or lacrosse, young kids should be encouraged to take part in different types of sports so that they can develop child mental ability and physical prowess that they need in order to become confident and successful adults during their later years.
Essential benefits of sports training
A sports training program from an early childhood can also help in fighting physical ailments and mental problems like depression in an effective manner. While it is natural that not all kids are going to take up sports professionally as they grow up, many of them will and it certainly helps to get them interested in sports activities at an early age. Apart from developing a sense of healthy competitiveness, sports training can also help them to develop the skills that they would need to become a successful professional sportsman. However, recent trends suggest that a lot of these young people tend to drop out of sports. While at one point of time young men and women took an aggressive interest in being a part of the sports team, recent surveys suggest otherwise. This has led to a reduced curve in health and fitness.
Sports training has become too expensive
The main reason for reduced kids’ fitness is that sports training has become more and more expensive and children coming from middle-class backgrounds are having a hard time affording them. Gone are the days when taking interest in sports meant simply throwing the ball; nowadays sports activities involve a lot of time and dedication on the part of a child. It even involves certain lifestyle changes, dietary restrictions and sticking to sports medicine which may not be easy for everyone to afford. Playing sports would also mean that a child needs to adhere to certain specialized dietary practices and afford to buy sports equipment and accessories. While this can prove to be relatively difficult for some people, there are those that come from rich and affluent families that have no problem doing the same. This naturally means that rich kids are more prepared and often the first preference for the coach when it comes to selecting the team and the poor kids eventually fallout from the selection process which invariably makes them lose interest in sports altogether.
Factors responsible for kids dropping out of sports
There are a number of ways in which kids coming from rich families have a distinct advantage over poor kids when it comes to sports activities. A child from a needy and desperate family may have to take the bus to reach the stadium after a lot of hurdles when it comes to playing a game. Comparatively the kids from rich families can travel by car to reach the stadium right on time and also stay comfortable the whole time. They can also afford to buy food products that are healthy and can build the requisite body mass that is required for a game, which can be challenging for the children from poorer backgrounds to afford. Additionally, poor children often feel that they are marginalized in society from various sectors. This can also be a psychologically hindering factor for them which is eventually making them lose interest in sports in recent years.
Gerry Mosley, the director of “Shoot 4 Success”, a basketball training camp based in Staten Island, NY said that he has to raise funds from the private sector like the Dewey Does Foundation, to help less fortunate children participate in his basketball program. Mr. Mosley has a list of kids that want to join his camp but can’t afford things as simple as sneakers or team jerseys. He makes exceptions but can’t address the total problem.
Mosely quotes: “It’s sad that it has come to this. When I was a kid, all I needed was a basketball, a rim and some friends. Today, there is such a high demand for specialty training just to keep their interest and that can be expensive”
Key social factors leading to reduced interest in sports
There can also be other sociological factors that lead many kids from poorer backgrounds from dropping out of sports. In many instances, children from rich families have parents who hold an important and influential position in the community. Therefore when it comes to their children getting selected for the school teams, they naturally get the preference instead of poor children that have to struggle to get noticed. Also, there are some instances where children from poorer backgrounds are actually forced by their parents to succeed in school activities and sports. This also makes them lose interest in sports activities after a point of time.
Importance of talent in ensuring sports success
It is important to note that talent still has an upper hand over wealth and no matter what the current trends may be, talented kids from poorer backgrounds still have a better chance of succeeding in sports when they compete against rich kids with less talent. While it is true that passion, dedication, and commitment do play a role in helping a person to become successful in sports; passion and commitment combined with talent has a greater chance of attaining success by the end of the day. This is a silver line that kids from poorer backgrounds can take home, provided they have the talent to succeed in their chosen field of sports.
How children can be encouraged to participate in sports
As responsible members of the community, it rests on us to make sure that children from poorer families and social backgrounds have what they need in order to achieve the foothold that they need in the world of sports. Already we are seeing the detrimental effects of children dropping out of sports all around us. There is now a great increase in youth obesity as more kids tend to become couch potatoes, indulging in watching television and playing video games instead of actually doing some physical exercise and taking part in sports activities.
Steps should be taken to help children from poorer backgrounds so that they can have a renewed interest in sports. Funds can be raised by non-profit organizations like the Dewey Does Foundation in order to sustain and support low-income youth sports organizations so that they have the help they need to become successful in their chosen field of sports and physical fitness activities. Local volunteers can also do their bit to promote the spirit of sports in young children. Children’s health programs focusing on educating kids about the benefits of sports and physical activity can encourage them to take an active interest in sports.
As children symbolize the future of any nation, it is very important that they have able bodies and minds to take up the challenges of tomorrow. Sports and fitness activities can help them to develop the inner strength they need to achieve success in all their endeavours.