Healthy num­ber of kids in sport

MORE THAN HALF IN­VOLVED, RE­SEARCH SHOWS

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - STREET WATCH - Jes­sica Nico

WHETHER it is kick­ing, div­ing, hit­ting, pirou­et­ting or shoot­ing, more than half of WA chil­dren are in­volved in a sport or phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

Ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment of Sport and Recre­ation’s (DSR) lat­est sta­tis­tics, 53 per cent of WA ju­niors were par­tic­i­pat­ing be­tween 2015 and 2016.

Swim­ming con­tin­ues to be top pick. A re­cent re­port from the Aus­tralian Sports Com­mis­sion, which sur­veyed more than 370,000 WA chil­dren, showed 30 per cent were in­volved in swim­ming.

Soc­cer was sec­ond, at 13.7 per cent, fol­lowed by Aus­tralian rules foot­ball (11), danc­ing (9) and bas­ket­ball (7.5). The trend mir­rored the na­tional fig­ures, where the top five were swim­ming, soc­cer, Aus­tralian rules foot­ball, gym­nas­tics and net­ball.

A DSR spokesman said in­ter­est and in­volve­ment in ju­nior sports had a strong link to what was go­ing on with se­nior coun­ter­parts na­tion­ally and around the world.

“When sports de­velop and grow, like the new AFL Women’s league and Big Bash cricket, you see grass­roots par­tic­i­pa­tion in­spired by the new di­rec­tion of the sport,” he said.

“There’s also an in­crease of ju­nior mem­ber­ship in Olympic sports in the 12 months fol­low­ing the games.”

While par­tic­i­pa­tion in sport has al­ways been a good way to stay healthy, there are many other ad­van­tages to get­ting in­volved at a young age.

“In­volve­ment in sport at an early age lays a good foun­da­tion for life,” the spokesman said.

“Par­tic­i­pa­tion helps to build fun­da­men­tal so­cial skills, in­clud­ing ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion and team­work, en­cour­ages an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the im­por­tance of phys­i­cal health, and pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties for achieve­ment and suc­cess and im­prov­ing con­fi­dence.

“When kids are in­volved in sport, it cre­ates at­ti­tudes and be­hav­iours which en­cour­age life­long par­tic­i­pa­tion.

“We en­cour­age chil­dren to be as phys­i­cally ac­tive in sport and recre­ation as pos­si­ble.”

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