Most parents wonder about sports which are suitable for children, think that there are some they can do and other they should not while others think some sports are exclusively for boys and others for girls.
IGIHE has caught up with Alexis Siborurema, a trainer for physical exercises like gym and referee for basketball, who answered most of the questions people have about sports. Siborurema completed his sports-related studies at the former Kigali Institute of Education (KIE). The excerpts below explain it all:
IGIHE: Are there exclusive sports for children as it is often believed? If so, which are they?
Siborurema: Actually all sports can be practiced by children but at different levels depending on their age. For example, children below five years are too young to adapt to physical exercises which are guided by rules. At that age, they need sports which make them happy and strengthen their muscles. The sports include jogging, piling up objects, throwing balls, swimming, and more they can do as they please.
Sports for children between 6 and 9 years old
As a child grows up, they choose a vision and get able to follow some sports rules. Children at this age, can have sports guided by rules and engage in competitions. They can start playing basketball, football, tennis, athletism, swimming and more.
From 10 to 12 years
At this stage, a child reaches to bigger thinking that enables them to create sports techniques and aim at winning the competitions while respecting rules. They can play basketball, hockey, volleyball and more games. At this stage, children start quitting some of the things they liked due to their age and changing secondary characters in the body. A trainer has to help children stay focused on their likes and talents. A trainer has also to help a child interact in sports with others at the same age to avoid injuries, fractures, etc.
Children are often led to parents’ favourite sports. Does that compromise the children’s talents?
Definitely. That is doing bad to a child. A child should practice different sports and make a choice of which sport to retain. If a parent wishes to see a child pursuing the parent’s sports career, they should start early developing the child’s love of the sport by making a child know much about that particular sport.
Adult people often do sports to de-stress or refresh the body after work. Why should a child do sports?
Sports are so important for human health especially for children because it makes muscles and bones strong, develops confidence and prevents different diseases like diabetes, heart attack, high blood pressure, etc. Sports help children perform well at school according to different surveys. Sports are also source of income when a child develops it into a profession.
What can a parent help a child who does not like sports?
A parent should first know why the child does not like sports by initiating a talk with the child and show a will to help them solve the problem behind that lack of interest in sports. When a child does not acquire a certain sport early, it becomes hard and frustrating when they join others who do much better. In this case, a parent offers special training to the child at home or tasks the sport’s coach on special consideration of the child for them to improve quickly.
How can a parent know their child’s talent in sports?
It will depend on the type of sports. There are two types of talents. There is an innate talent whereby you just see a child playing and confirm that they are talented. I can cite an example of the FC Barcelona’s player, Lionel Messi. There is also an accrued talent which comes as a result of a child’s passion and hard work. There are children who show that they are committed to winning in anything they do and even do extra exercises outside of their team. For example, Real Madrid’s player, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Can play things compromise a child’s love for sports?
Yes. It is possible for a child to get busy with play things (toys) and stop going to sports exercises. However, they are other things like computers, telephones, TVs and prestation games which can distract a child. A parent should have control over child’s use of all that and let them be used in the right time.
When should a child not be allowed to do sports?
Only when it has been instructed by a doctor due to some health issues.
Some parents think there are exclusive sports for boys and others for girls; what do you say about this?
That is wrong thinking. I urge parents to let children train in all sports. A child can practice any sport as long as they love it. Parents should accompany children in their career course and encourage them for career development.