Is your child struggling socially? Is he or she at the receiving end of cruelty at the hands of classmates or “friends”? Socially-awkward kids are particularly vulnerable to loneliness, social isolation, or worse, bullying. Who would want all these to be experienced by their own child? Certainly nobody!
Leanne Findlay and Robert Coplan from Carleton University investigated the effect of sports participation on shy kids in a 2008 study in the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science. Shy kids are thought of as having a desire to play with others, but anxiety gets in the way of their social interactions. The major finding was this: shy children who were involved in sports over the course of a year reported a significant drop in anxiety about social situations.
So how do sports help your child’s ease your child’s anxiety and improve social skills?
1. PROVIDES TONS OF OPPORTUNITIES TO ENGAGE IN INTERACTION AND IMPROVES COMMUNICATION
With endless opportunities for children to engage with their peers, sports serves as a practice ground for social skills. Kids learn to communicate with other people such as their coaches or teammates on how to work together towards a common goal. Sports provide shy children with a sense of belongingness, as well as a topic that they can discuss with their peers.
2. BUILDS SELF-ESTEEM
Sport provides children with opportunities to try new skills and assess their capabilities. Seeing themselves improve or master these skills builds their self-esteem. They develop positive feelings about themselves and acquire a sense of importance and self-worth, in turn, reducing anxiety that hinders them in establishing social interactions.
3. POSITIVE COACHING
Coaches also play a part in building kids’ self-esteem. They hold a capacity on making children feel good about themselves by constantly showing appreciation for every effort and providing a positive learning environment where they won’t be afraid to make mistakes.
Thus, sports play a great part in helping your socially-awkward get past this stage and simply belong. There are many sports that allow kids to build social skills that have little social pressure.
The rules are not complex and do not require much teamwork. Group classes provide the chance to work on social skills as well as tennis skills.
These sports build self-esteem, self-control and concentration. On top of that, they teach the value of respect for others. The need to bow to your opponent and wait for commands can translate to stronger social skills outside of martial arts classes.
The best way to improve social skills is to join team sports. It teaches them cooperation, be less selfish and listen to other children. It helps them establish friendship and gives a sense of belongingness.
As our tagline goes, “More Than Just Sports Coaching”, at ProActiv Sports, we look beyond the development of physical skills through sports. We make sure that all our programmes contribute to the personal development and well-being of children. With our team of mindful coaches, a positive environment is established for kids encouraging social interactions in our programs equipping them with a lifelong skill.
If you are looking to have your child participate in sports, then our Sports Programmes or Camps are perfect for you! Learn more by clicking here.
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ProActiv Sports – More than Just Sports Coaching
Will is one of the founders of Sport4Kids (now ProActiv Sports) in Hong Kong and was the driving force behind bringing it to Singapore in 2014. Will obtained a degree in Sports Science and Health, from Dublin City University and has vast experience coaching children and adults of all level and abilities. Will is experienced at coaching in a wide variety of sports with a particular interest in Soccer, Basketball and Gaelic Football. He is also a very keen sportsman having represented Ireland in underage basketball and Gaelic Football.