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Sports for Kids

Sports for Kids discusses what children can gain from sports and what Competitive sports entails.

Sports is not just a great way for children to stay healthy, it also teaches qualities they will need to succeed in life - Discipline, Endurance, Self-control, Perseverence, Focus, Determination and Yes, even the dreaded F word, Failure and how to overcome adversity.

Competitive Sports is a demanding task master. To perform really well in it, the 10,000 hour rule kicks in. It is a big investment of time, energy and sweat. Just think about it, only the 1st, 2nd and 3rd get a prize, you can't quite remember who the person who came in 4th is. That's pretty tough.

But look at it another way, many high performing kids don't know how to fail. They fall down at their first hurdle and never get up. Sports can serve another function, that of Controlled Failure. A child can 'fail' at a sport, yes they feel down, but it is not life-threatening. Teach your child how to overcome this minor difficulty. There will be many more obstacles in their lives, far worse and far harder to handle.

Always, always remind yourself not to get carried away. If the activity or sport means more to you than to the child, something is wrong with this picture. I have seen parents shouting, even threatening to hit their child at competitions when they felt their kid had not put in their best effort. Their child is in tears and feeling really awful already. Instead of being supportive, the parent has chosen to be the direct opposite. I know it is wonderful to stand in your child's reflected glory and probably accomplish something you never could when you yourself were a child. But if this parent could see himself, he would realize that he had crossed the line from being instructive and motivating your child to being just plain abusive.

If you are considering a Competitive Sport for your child, read this excellent article by the Swimming Director of Singapore Swimming Club explaining the many Benefits of Competitive Sports.

Study-Sport Trade-off

In Singapore's demanding environment, some parents are tempted to put their child in a competitive sport, hoping to DSA (Direct School Admission) the child into Secondary school. Be honest with yourself and careful about what you choose for your child. It is by far better for your child to do well academically and enter the Secondary school of his choice than to use a sport to DSA.

Why? When you get in academically, the child has no obligation to the school to participate in any sport. He has the option to do so or not. So-called sports jocks are put together in one class, apart from the 'regular' kids. In schools such as Raffles Institution and Raffles Girls' School, it was unheard of in our generation for the school to retain any kids for a year, after all only the cream of the crop could get into the school in the first place. Now it is not uncommon to hear of kids who were retained or even kicked out of the school because they were not up to scratch academically. Think of how demoralizing it is for the child if he got in with a PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination) score of 200 and the rest of the students got in with a minimum of 260. That is a wide disparity in academic ability.

If your child is not doing well in his subjects, you should consider cutting back on the sport. He will need a proper education to find a job in future. Only a small minority will ever be good enough to represent the country in any particular sport.

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