Why do children play sport?

Melissa Gordon
Primary School Sport Director
Sport Bay of Plenty

Here in the Bay of Plenty, children have a variety of sport and physical activity options available to them to keep them healthy and active, whether it be with their families and friends, with a club or within their schools.

Usually the primary and intermediate school environment is the first structured opportunity young people have to participate in a variety of sports.

Our vision at Sport Bay of Plenty is to nurture an equitable and inclusive environment for children to build a lifelong love of sport and physical activity through positive and meaningful experiences.

A group of 10-12 year olds were questioned about why they played sport and the top five reasons they gave:

1: To have fun.

2: tro do something I'm good at.

3: To improvie my skills.

4: To stay in shape.

5: To get exercise.

Surprisingly “winning” didn't even make the top ten reasons.

Study after study comes up with the same #1 result. Kids play sport for the fun of it. And not having fun is one of the major reasons 70 per cent of kids quit playing sport by the time they're 13. Most often it's parents and coaches who want to win. Kids hardly care.

For them, winning is just icing on the cake.

Even at the high school level, most kids would rather play on a losing team than sit on the bench of a winning one. That doesn't mean that kids don't value winning, just that they prefer playing.

If you want your children to play sport, all you have to do is make sure they are having fun!

Sport Bay of Plenty supports this message and collaborates with Regional Sports Organisations and local sports clubs to provide a comprehensive school sport calendar to assist with increasing the participation level of all Primary and Intermediate school students in sport.

Across the Bay of Plenty the calendar has over 100 events ranging from more traditional sports like Swimming, Cross Country, and Athletics events to Golf, Tennis, Badminton, Squash, Rugby Seven's and Cricket.

There are also a variety of events aimed at beginners and those that don't normally participate in competitive sport like the Top School event, which is about team building and having fun, or Orienteering where children work on their timekeeping and map reading skills, or the famous Rotorua Mini Marathon which gives school children the chance to experience what it's like to take part in a Marathon by running the last 2kms on the actual Rotorua Marathon Course. This event is coming up on Friday 5th March 2017 and usually attracts over 1500 children from local schools.

Throughout the school sporting calendar there is definitely something for everyone and we encourage schools to promote what is coming up to all children to give them a chance to participate.

To see what events are coming up on the School Sport Calendar visit www.sportbop.co.nz/whats-on

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The Sun going down over the water @ Sulphur Point. Photo: Casey Fredericks.

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