When summer in the UK comes around, sports become inescapable. Everything from the FA Cup, to Wimbledon, and in 2019 the Cricket World Cup is coming to the shores of this sceptred isle. For children, this is the weekly reality too. At school, the playground is now just the beginning, as playing fields become habitable after the winter hiatus, and football, cricket, rounders, and many more games become possible and enjoyable once more. But what about outside of school, when the summer holidays kick in? While there are parks aplenty across the land, it is hard to improve upon the advantages of a dedicated sports class in one of the many specialised summer camps in London. If you find yourself sitting on the fence about such a possible idea, consider the following six benefits these programmes can offer.
The skills involved in many different sports and games require a high level of control of the limbs, and coordination between the hand, the foot, and the eyes. Practising and developing these skills as a younger child is an excellent way to encourage development in all sorts of other areas where these kind of techniques are necessary, and can really help a child grow in the ways of moving their body and managing their movements. If your child finds themselves feeling clumsy or uncertain about these things, this kind of class could be perfect to help. Even if they don’t, the skills and abilities to hone movements to a fine art are well worth acquiring.
As part of many different sporting games and activities, children will be required to work together in a team. This is a social skill that is vital to develop across their lives, and starting early is always important. Although the aim of scoring a goal in football, hitting a six in cricket, or running a full rounder in the eponymous sport, can seem very much like individual accomplishments, the fact is that all these and more are team efforts to one degree or another. When a child learns just how important their networked efforts with others can be, that is a lesson they can take through with them their entire life.
The notion that practice makes perfect is sometimes a hard one to get children to fully appreciate, especially when they are very young. Doing the same task over and over again can seem boring or dull or otherwise just pointless. Yet this is also the time when they most need to understand the benefit of cultivating a skill, as that is exactly what will be happening at their schools, or with things like musical instruments, or any number of other areas in life. As they practice more and get to observe directly just how much better they can get at something when they focus and practice, the notion of the importance of such can become deeply embedded in their young minds. Something they can draw on again and again later on.
With the increasing prevalence of video games, internet content, and any number of other more sedentary digital distractions, encouraging children to be active and outdoors has become a near-universally accepted axiomatic good. There is however a danger here, in that if we turn fitness and activities into chores that have to be done so that they can justify children’s online time, interest in such things will only continue to wane. Hence, the need to make fitness a fun thing, a game to be enjoyed and played. At a camp like this, with a large number of other children, with goals and games aplenty to partake in, outdoor activities can return to the status of enjoyable challenge rather than endurance chore.
The more of these games and activities a child takes part in, the more they can see their own skills growing, their own abilities adapting and improving, and they can take from that a very important lesson. The notion that they have achieved something, that they have reached upwards, taken a lesson or activity to heart, and made something for themselves out of it. Not a physical thing, but a pattern of skill. A skill that they own. That they can do. Knowing deep in their minds that they have the confidence to do something is a trait that can only carry good things with it as a child grows, develops, and moves on into more and more complex territories of life.
So very often the lessons learned in sports by children and adults alike are less to do with the physical skills and abilities taught by the game but are the abilities of character and personal development that these experiences give us. Sport is often a microcosm of real life. The effort is important but does not guarantee victory. In defeat, there may be lessons to learn, or there may not. Practice makes better, but not necessarily perfect. Tantrums in the face of defeat are understandable, but not helpful or ultimately even good. All these lessons and more are important things for children to take on board.
Sports clubs and holiday clubs are an excellent place for children to grow, learn, and ultimately develop the skills they need for all kinds of future applications in many different areas of life.