Which sport to choose?

Martine Bernier

Health journalist, editor-in-chief

May 7, 2021

The popularity of a sport may be linked to a fashion phenomenon or to the charisma of an athlete. After the Euro, football has gained new members. A phenomenon can surprise if we know that the round ball is one of the favorite team sports of young people and children.

For the first time this year, the 2008 FSO survey on sports participation in Switzerland included young people aged 14 and over. It reveals that the most popular sports in our country are most often those that can be practiced throughout life. Among the youngest, the leading peloton is made up of cycling, mountain biking, swimming, jogging, running or cross-country running, hiking or walking, and skiing.

Young German-speaking Swiss seem to be more assiduous than their French-speaking counterparts, with more assiduous practice. This situation explained by the fact that their sense of competition is more developed than in Romandie, where the desire to relax is more important. Sport is a necessary activity for the development of the child. It brings a definite bonus in terms of health, allowing the development of motor skills. He allows contact with his comrades and, therefore, better socialization, while allowing one to confront authority.

As for the level of personal development, it brings new self-confidence and allows you to discover the concepts of failure and success. Between 6 and 9 years old, children will learn the basics of their sport, by placing themselves in this new world. To do this, he will develop his own physical and social abilities, and try out multiple activities.

Up to the age of 10 or 12, children tend to choose a sport “to do like mom or dad”, or because it was offered to them. Parents must therefore allow him to discover as many as possible activities so that he can make an informed choice.

Also, pay attention to fashion effects. Just because Ronaldo is popular doesn’t mean that a kid should absolutely play football when he hates team sports… Before choosing a sport, take your child for a medical check-up. Ask the doctor to see if there is any contraindication to playing the sport you and your child have chosen. Then entrust it to qualified instructors. It will start the sessions with a warm-up, channel energy, and guide the first steps of your sports apprentice.

Three golden rules:
• Never force your child to play a sport: let him choose, try different options.
• Don’t get him drunk with telling your own performances
• Rely on professional supervision to avoid physical or psychological injuries.

Here is a selection of some of the most famous disciplines:

Combat sports
They develop the assertiveness, confidence, and esteem that children have for themselves … and for others. Among them: judo or yoseikan-budo. A fun initiation can already be offered between 2 and 6 years old.

The rules of the game are simple and the sport highly publicized. It develops coordination of movements and skill. Demanding, requires concentration, agility, and physical resistance. Children can start practicing it from 4 years old.

In one session, kids can already have fun. This shuttlecock game uses coordination, skill, perception, and balance. It can be started at any age, in a club or with the family.

From 7 or 8 years old, children will find pleasure in this fun activity practiced in a closed enclosure. The game is played for two, in three winning sets of nine points. This sport uses cardiorespiratory functions. It requires agility, skill, and good reflexes.

Swimming is considered a basic sport. It is practiced from elementary school, but initiations for “baby swimmers” are available long before that. This sport is accessible to all children, whatever their morphology. It develops cardio-pulmonary capacity and musculature.

Another fundamental sport, it can be started around 6 or 7 years old, in a club. Track and field help develop a comprehensive physical education focused on strength, flexibility, endurance, and speed. Most school education includes athletics in its curriculum.

Both sport and art, this discipline is taught at school, but also in a multitude of member clubs of the Swiss Gymnastics Federation. From 2 or 3 years old, children can begin to indulge in the first exercises. They will develop speed, balance, flexibility, and relaxation very early on.

Cycling is the favorite sport of the Swiss, ahead of swimming and hiking. From 2 or 3 years old, children can get on a bicycle equipped with stabilizers. Afterward, the bike can be practiced with family or between friends. It develops mastery of balance and coordination.

From 6 years old, your child can learn football from beginners. With this sport, he will develop team spirit, a sense of balance, speed, endurance, skill, and fair play. The success of football cannot be denied.

In Switzerland, from the age of 3 or 4, children can find themselves in the snow garden, slats hanging from their feet. The balance, control of the body, and coordination of movements are three of the contributions of this sport that can be practiced in the form of downhill or cross-country skiing.

And why not? Indoors or outdoors, you need to be supervised by professionals. This activity develops a sense of balance and muscle strength.

Horseback riding
In addition to the special relationship that he will develop with his mount, the little rider will learn self-control, endurance, and respect for animals. Be careful not to let him go up without his bomb: it will protect his head.

Ice Hockey
From 6 years old, your child may be admitted to a club. Hockey, like all team sports, will develop a sense of camaraderie. But also his endurance, his sense of balance, his skill, and his self-control.


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