The word ‘athletics’ is commonly used for games that involve running, jumping, walking, and throwing, etc. Some of the common types of athletic events are 100 m race, relay race, long jump, high jump, javelin throw, discus throw, etc. So, How to inculcate Athletics for kids?
Generally speaking, an athletic person is one who has a physically fit body to perform these sports or events. A person with good stamina and a strong and healthy physique are one who can participate in athletic competitions. You are mostly going to encounter very young professionals who can teach athletics for kids.
People usually misunderstand athletics with sports or vice versa. However, there is a difference between the two. An athletics is a group of sporting events that are played on tracks and fields, whereas, sports include a vast variety like football, rugby, basketball, hockey, soccer, tennis, judo, swimming, etc. In other words, athletics is a kind of sport in itself.
Sports involve a wide range of age groups and can be played both professionally as well as non-professionally. People can play sports with a casual approach. Most people in India play sports just out of a hobby.
However, athletics needs a more focussed approach by people who are physically fit and flexible. Only young professionals can accomplish the kind of track and field activities that athletes need to perform. This is because only kids and youth have the required flexibility for performing athletics.
The body dynamics that athletics demands of their performers can only be seen in kids. That is why athletics for kids is much more common than it is for higher aged people. A kid can start his athletics training from a very early age and can even become a professional in his teens.
Benefits of Athletics for Kids
Starting athletics for children early in their life will make them a good, disciplined, and confident human being. Athletes are completely different people with strong muscles, tough mental vigor higher self-esteem. Below are a few benefits of being an athlete.
If your kid plays soccer, his leg muscles tend to be more powerful than the rest of the body. Similarly, if he plays volleyball, his hand muscles will have more strength than the other muscles of the body.
However, if your kid is an athlete, each of his body muscles is going to be used in some of the other kinds of activity. Every muscle of his body will be equally charged with energy. The diverse kinds of running, jumping, and throwing activities will provide enough opportunity to your kid’s body to develop each part into a bombshell of power.
Athletics training for kids is not easy. Never-ending running and jumping sessions will surely make your kid’s legs immovable for any further steps. Nevertheless, they still hear their inner voices to carry on. This is the inner motivation your kid can get only through training like this.
While playing any kind of sports, one can always encounter a tricky situation. Someday, your kid might also have to make a quick decision between “let it go” and “let’s go”. These are the times when his self-knowledge and inner motivation keeps him going.
Compete with self
It takes a lifetime of maturity to realize that every sportsperson ever has to compete only with himself. No one, but he himself is going to be his competitor forever. Rivals may come and go. Competitions will end one day. Nonetheless, he should be playing better than he did yesterday. This is the only ultimate truth. Athletics make you realize this pretty sooner.
Disciplined lifestyle is a gift that every athlete gets by default. The repeated running, jumping, and throwing practices make your kid work on his technique and get better by each day. The more your kid practices, the more he is addicted to it, and the more he wants to do it with patience and devotion. This addiction makes him more disciplined towards his life, punctuality, sincerity, and responsibilities.
Importance of Athletics for Kids
You might not feel convinced yet for enrolling your kid into a professional athletics training for kids near you. You still believe that all the aforesaid life skills can be earned through other means as well. Thus, we bring to you the reasons why athletics precisely is important for a child’s overall development.
Better Academic Performance
The commonly accepted notion says that sports or athletics can contribute to hampering your child’s academic performance. However, surprisingly, the fact is that athletics improve your child’s academic performance at school.
The athlete students have, on average, higher grades than the non-athlete ones. There are also studies that indicate that the reason behind this fact could be the competitive nature of athletics getting transferred over to academics.
Shaping-up the Youth
The bigger picture of raising an athletic generation of kids could be shaping up the youth for a beautiful tomorrow. As we know, youth today is vulnerable to stress, depression, or any such adverse situation. Statistics show that 1 out of every 100,000 kids aged between 10 and 14 suicide every year.
Thus, youth need a strong and healthy mind along with a powerful physique to battle every undesirable circumstance. Athletics for kids works like magic in providing this strength to children. Thus, when you train your kids for athletics, you are gifting him a happier future.
Develop Important Life-skills
Just by practicing athletics on a regular basis, your child understands and inculcates some very important life lessons naturally and effortlessly.
- Importance and art of two-way communication
- Importance of hard work
- Self- motivation
This wisdom is going to stay with your kid till the end and will help him come out of every struggle as a winner.
Gone are the days when sports and athletics were considered unnecessary for the growth of an individual and his country as a whole. India, today, acknowledges the amount of hard work and devotion that these athletes put in and rewards them at different stages.
Moreover, there are quotas in every government as well as private institutions to admit students from the sports and athletics category. Similarly, there are reservations in each government office and department for sportspeople and athletes.
All this is a reward for athletes as the government organizes various sports and athletic events at different levels to recognize them. Further, the talented youth also get a chance to represent their country at the international level.
Types of Athletic Events
Athletic events are mainly played on track and field. These kinds of events are divided into three categories – track events, jump events, and throw events. Further, there are some combined events that are similar to the track events but are instead performed on different kinds of terrains.
These events take place on running tracks. These are events involving different types of running races.
- Sprints – Races of short distances are categorized under this group. The three most common sprinting events are 100 meters, 200 meters, and 400 meters.
- Middle Distance – More tactical events lie under this category. This group includes races of distance 800 m, 1500 m, and a mile.
- Long Distance – Long distance races test stamina and endurance of their participants. Some common long-distance track events are 3000 m, 5000 m, and 10000 m.
- Relay Races – This is the only team event in track and field events of athletics. Four participants of a team run for an equal and specific distance one by one. The players pass on their baton to the next partner after completing their part of the run. The most common relay races are run for a distance of 4*100 m and 4*400 m.
- Hurdle Races – Races with various hurdles fall under this group. Distances for races can be 100 m (for women), 110 m (for men), or 400 m (for both men and women).
The first type of field event is jump events.
- Long Jump – Athletes run for a short distance and jump from a marked line into a sandpit. The distance between the marked line and the nearest mark on the sand created by the athlete’s body is the distance with which the athlete will compete.
- Triple Jump – It is quite similar to the long jump event in terms of setup. However, the athlete takes two steps before his actual jump. He hops from the marked line, takes a small step in between, and then finally jumps for his long jump on his third step.
- High Jump – Athletes have to run for a short distance, jump over a horizontal bar, and land on a cushioned platform on the other side of the bar. This bar is set up on a height as per the registered height jumped by the athlete.
- Pole Vault – In this field event, the athlete runs for a while with a pole in hand, plants it in a metal box, and finally vaults over a horizontal bar before landing on a soft platform on the other side.
These are the second type of field events of athletics.
- Shot Put – The athlete throws a metallic ball weighing 7.26 kg (for men) or 4 kg (for women) from a circular area of 7 feet diameter.
- Discus Throw – In discus throw, a heavy disc weighing 2 kg and measuring 22 cm in diameter takes place of the spherical shot put.
- Javelin Throw – After running for a sprint, the athlete throws the javelin from the marked line. Javelin for women measures 2.2 to 2.3 m and weighs 600 g for women, whereas it is 2.6 to 2.7 m in length and weighs 800 g for men.
- Hammer Throw – A heavy metallic ball similar to shot put is attached to a wire of length 1.175 m – 1.215 m. the athlete has to throw this ball in a direction angled within 34.92 degrees.
- Road Running – As the name applies, these races are run on well-established roads as per the measured courses. These are usually long-distance races with distance ranging between 5 km to 42.2 km.
- Cross Country Races – Cross country races are the natural terrain version of long-distance running. Instead of a well-built track or road, this race is performed on natural terrain covering grass, rolling hills, dusty, or even snowy. The distance is anywhere between 4 km to 12 km.
- Race Walking – In this event of 20 km (both men and women) or 50 km (men only), the athletes have to walk at a fast pace. The judges assess the difference between walking and running of the participants based on the fact that while walking, your one foot is always in contact with the ground.
Four Most Important Physical Skills that Athletes Need
When you plan to enroll your child in athletics training near you, you certainly have to make sure that kids possess the following physical skills.
- Endurance – Athletics for kids involves practice and a lot of it. It is not the strength or the power of the body that will make your kid survive through the initial training phase but only the endurance of his body and mind will. Your child will be tired, injured, and stressed; but this pressure will be equivalent to the one applied to carbon to turn it into a diamond.
- Speed – Athletes need speed, we all know this. But a true athlete knows when to accelerate and when to decelerate. Hence, by speed, I mean that athlete’s body should be quick enough to follow the mind’s decision of accelerating or decelerating. For example, in a cross country race, an athlete who runs the fastest doesn’t win. The winner is the one who runs constantly, consistently, and diligently.
- Flexibility – This is one thing that can either come naturally or achieved through rigorous training. However, in the absence of flexibility, an athlete cannot perform well on the field. For example, a non-flexible body is sure to touch the horizontal bar in a high jump.
- Balance – Balancing and reacting quickly to the reflexes is the utmost important thing for any athlete or even a sportsperson. The situation and circumstances of an athlete might change in a fraction of seconds. Thus, maintaining a well-balanced posture during this adverse time is vital for an athlete to save himself from injuries.
Children below the age of 6 or 7 years lack these physical skills. Their motor skills are still in the developmental stage. Their hand-eye movements, coordination between hands and legs, and bodily balance are not fully capable of getting athletics training.
However, once your child reaches 8 or 9 years of age, all of these basic motor and gross motor skills are almost fully developed. By this age, your kid is ready to join an athletics training program near you.
How to Make Your Kid a Better Athlete
Children are like wet clay and you as parents have the power to mold them in the correct way. If you and your child have an inclination towards athletics, you should start at the right age, with the right coach, and in the correct manner.
Below are five ways in which you, as parents, can help your child become a professional athlete.
Make Athletics Fun
Many kids love watching athletic events on TV. If your child is one of them, he is already a step ahead. During toddlerhood, encourage your child to run and jump as much as he wants. Gradually, shape up his running and jumping into an organized play like races.
When your child is about 5-7 years old, motivate him to exercise regularly. Though it might be difficult at this stage, they still try to make running and jumping fun activities for him. Make these sports more organized and goal-oriented.
Celebrate Results as well as Efforts
Reward your child with a small celebration or a gift when he achieves a milestone. This encourages him to perform better and links his achievements of milestones in athletics to happiness.
On the other hand, when your kid tries his best but is still unable to match a set benchmark, celebrate his honest efforts. Tell him that his efforts matter more than the accomplishment itself and that if he doesn’t lose hope, he will achieve his goal very soon.
Let Your Child be his Own Critic
Athletics training is all about improving day by day. One can improve only when he knows the scope of his improvement. Thus, allow your child to discuss his game with you. Ask him where he thinks he went wrong or where can he improve and he sees his shortcomings on his own. This also stimulates inner motivation to get better.
Diet and Nutrition
For any sportsperson, a nutritious diet is a must. A young athlete needs about 60% of carbohydrates to fuel the nervous system, the brain and the muscles, 15-20% protein to grow and repair muscles and tissues, and 20-25% fats as the energy resource.
Grains, fruits, and vegetables provide the daily dose of carbohydrates to your athlete child. Food sources such as lean meats, fish, eggs, poultry, or soy are stores of proteins. Your child can get his requirement of fats from oils, meat, fish, nuts, and dairy products.
Outsource Professional Training
Unlike casual sports, athletics for kids requires specialized training from experts. Book athletics classes for kids. Outsource their strength training. Experts know the step by step procedure to grow an amateur kid into a professional athlete.
Kids are powerhouses of energy and if his parents fail to channelize this energy into some constructive task, it may pose danger to your kid’s security. An athletics is a great option for your kids as it maintains a healthy and disciplined lifestyle along with providing a confident future to your child.