Organised sport should not be used to engage children in physical activity as it alienates them from taking part in regular exercise, according to the chief executive of Fit For Sport.
Speaking at Leisure Industry Week in Birmingham, Dean Horridge said that the way UK children engage in physical activity was “terribly wrong”. He mentioned that some children even left primary school without learning to catch, yet were expected to play sports like cricket in secondary school.
The government recently made Sport England responsible for out of school activity for children five and above, instead of its previous requirement of 14-plus. Although the chief executive recognised this as commendable, he indicated that the service would need to work closely with a wide selection of partners to successfully engage a good proportion of children.
Horridge said, even though the government’s obesity strategy had highlighted the need to engage children in physical activity, the main focus needed to be on ‘fun activities’ like tag, rather than playing structured team sports. “We should be teaching children to run and catch, not spending 25 minutes talking about technique,” he said.
Fit For Sport are launching the Healthy Active School system in January 2017, which measures the physical fitness of children. One million children were challenged over a three-year period in the scheme’s pilot stage. The results found that 67% of the children were unable to do continuous star jumps for one minute.
Source: Health Club Management