Playing a team sport has plenty of benefits for children. It helps them to develop all sorts of positive behaviour, such as teamwork and camaraderie, as well as opening them up to some healthy competitiveness and increasing their levels of fitness. However, it is also important to be aware that the sports club that you choose for your little one makes them feel and safe and comfortable, as the wrong one can put them off sport for life. Here are a few tips to help you choose a sports club that will have a positive impact on your child:
Are they safe?
Children's sports clubs have a duty of care, so it is important that you check out their policies and fully understand them. If there is something that worries you or you are not sure about, ask. There should always be someone with first aid training on site at all times, and it is also essential that any adults, particularly if they are being left alone with any children, to have the appropriate DBS checks in place as they would if they worked in a school. Also, try to get a sense of how they are with parents - are they happy for parents to come along to spectate or help out? If not, this may be a red flag to watch out for.
It is important to make sure that the club is not out of your budget - some sports can incur high costs, and the last thing that you want to do when your child settles into a team is have to pull them out because you can't afford it. Make sure that you check out membership costs, the cost of uniforms, for example, rugby kit design if they choose to play rugby, transport to and from matches and games and any specialist equipment that they need.
This wholly depends on your child. If they are super competitive, a sports club that focuses entirely on competitions and winning is great. However, if your child is not competitive - and many are not - or just wants to play for fun or fitness, it is important that you choose the right club. Look for ones that offer a sense of inclusivity, whatever the level of ability and fair selection procedures to make sure that all children are getting a chance.
Affiliation and Accreditation
Most sports have some sort of governing body, so it is essential to make sure that the club that you choose is affiliated with the relevant sports authorities. This will also guarantee that in the event of your child being injured while in their care, they are covered by the correct form of insurance. The coaches should be certified as well, and as we mentioned above, there should always be a trained first aider on site.
By following these tips, and making sure that you choose a sport that your child genuinely shows an interest in, you will hopefully foster a life long love of sport and fitness.