Football is the most sociable sport with swimming a close second, according to a survey by BT Coaching For Life which questioned parents.
The survey also revealed that nearly two thirds of parents (60%) actively encouraged their kids to join teams and clubs to increase their circle of friends and more than half of parents (57%) believe that by taking part in sports their children’s friendship groups will grow.
The figures highlight a strong link between being involved in sports and popularity, as the more teams and clubs a child is active in, the more interaction they will have with peers resulting in more friendships.
Leon Taylor, former Olympic silver medallist and BT Coaching for Life ambassador, said: “Make praise your main tool, the most powerful tool you have as a coach is praise – but be careful to ensure you praise effort not talent. Remember to always be enthusiastic and lively to keep the children engaged and interested. Let children know that mistakes are okay. Finally and most importantly make sure you have fun!”
The research also revealed that 86% of parents would rather their children take part in sports and outdoor pursuits, than playing computer games or watching TV indoors.
The research found that being involved in sports not only means children are more social, but they are better behaved too, nearly half (44%) of teachers surveyed said sporty children concentrate more and are well behaved in class.
Julie Hindley, BT Community Investment Manager, said, “Sports play a really beneficial role in children’s lives and can make a big difference in terms of health, well being and performance in other areas of life. Whether your child belongs to every club going or just enjoys playing with friends in the park, it’s important they get plenty of physical activity. Sports don’t just have to be restricted to school or after school clubs. Parents need to make the most of their weekends and get involved with sports with their kids, and use the skills learnt through sport as a way of educating children about other areas of life.”
- Football – 59%
- Swimming – 56%
- Rugby – 20%
- Ballet/dance classes – 19%
- Athletics – 18%
- Netball – 16%
- Martial Arts – 16%
- Tennis – 15%
- Cricket – 13%
- Gymnastics – 13%
The percentages relate to children with 17 friends or more.