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Want to build confidence in your child? Consider tennis and other sports

Feb 19, 2015
written by: Catherine Cameron
written by: Catherine Cameron
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As a runner, I know all about the importance of confidence. Believing in myself is what enabled me to start running, and years later, it’s still what powers me across the finish line.

Confidence impacts the everyday decisions we make; the relationships we have with family, friends, and co-workers; the activities we undertake; how we view ourselves; and so much more. As Arthur Ashe said: “one important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation”.  I happen to agree, so today’s post takes a look at some of the ways sport participation can help instil confidence in our kids – mine, yours, and every child.

  1. Sport provides an opportunity for active play – and active play makes our kids happier, healthier,and more confident. Did you know most Canadian children fall short on both structured and unstructured play?
  2. Sport participation fosters healthy life-long habits such as a commitment to exercise and to proper nutrition. It also encourages children to take an active and life-long role in prevention, health, and wellness. I love the terrific new program called “Miss-Hits” that coach, and British Fed Cup captain, Judy Murray (mother and first coach to Jamie and Andy) is launching with British Tennis to attract more girls, aged five to eight to tennis. Ms. Murray is in fact, the keynote speaker at the 2015 Tennis Professionals Association Conference in Toronto on February 26 and in Montreal on February 25.
  3. Playing sports can help children manage stress, offering a healthy distraction from and means of coping with problems at school, peers, at home, etc.
  4. Making new and like-minded friends is a wonderful benefit of sport participation. Children build confidence as they learn to socialize and cooperate with others, acquire leadership skills, and function as part of a team.
  5. Children who engage in sports have the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them in a safe and supportive environment. This in turn builds composure, confidence, and resilience – three things of use throughout life. As Michael Jordan said: “I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that’s why I succeed.
  6. Sport participation helps children set and work towards realistic goals. Sports also teach us (children and adults) to win and lose with grace, dignity, and honour.
  7. Sport builds physical competence and an important appreciation of all our bodies enable us to do.
  8. Sport participation builds self-esteem, self-worth, and a healthier body image in girls andboys.  Children who engage in sport benefit from increased muscle strength and aerobic endurance, a decreased risk of obesity, and regardless of their size, are more likely to be happy with the way they look.
  9. Children who engage in sports typically have better mental health including emotional control, general happiness, less anxiety and fear, and more self-confidence. Let’s help every child reap the rewards of sport!
  10. Children who participate in sports are typically more self-disciplined and are better at managing their time and juggling multiple priorities. This increase in self-control is empowering and encourages increased independence.

It can take time to find the right sport/s for a child. I’ve always encouraged my kids to pursue their interests, to try activities and sports their friends enjoy, and I’ve also introduced them to some of my favorites. There have been stages where it’s taken some time to find a good “fit,” but the journey has exposed them (and me!) to activities and sports they would otherwise not have tried. It keeps things interesting at our house, that one of my girls runs, strength trains, cycles, and dances, while the other thrives on team sports that include soccer, basketball, volleyball, and tennis. I should mention that neither thrives on competition – they participate first for the FUN, and second, for the health benefits.

I’d love to know how sport benefits your children. Tweet with us @cate_cameron and @Tennis_Canada.