By Barry Bremmer
In a world where technology and virtual reality seem to reign supreme, it’s a joy to find children actually engaging in sports. Outdoors, with ruddy cheeks and enjoying the company of others amidst the physical challenge of engaging in sports — this is where we want to see our kids.
Beyond the obvious health benefits, engaging in sports classes and sports fitness training is also not just all about the physical challenges, with winning as the only objective. It also helps cultivate certain values and imparts life lessons children can learn and carry with them for the rest of their lives.
In sports, athletes learn to push their limits while practicing patience. Olympic sprinters are not born record-breakers. They are trained from childhood or adolescence, and are taught to learn patience when it comes to improving their time. They practice constantly, waking up early, eating right, warming up and getting the needed sleep and training to keep getting better.
The same can be said of injured athletes. They want to heal quickly so they can play again; but they also know that without proper rest and recovery, they are setting themselves up for something worse. So children know that patience is key in any sport.
Have you seen football players training under the sun and in the rain? Children engaged in athletics learn the values of diligence, perseverance and hard work early on. They know that without putting in time, energy and effort, they cannot hope to be better today than yesterday. They also know that giving up is not an option on the playing field, and the only way to achieve anything is to keep pressing on.
Sports are inherently competitive, and to have a chance at winning in any team sport, young players need to learn to work together and move as a unit. Team sports like basketball, football and volleyball require that all members of the team understand each other, communicate openly, and master the game plan so they can move in unison and win over the competing team.
Ever seen the underdog win a race or some other sports event? Children actively engaged in sports are taught that competing teams are working as hard as they are (or harder), and that other athletes deserve respect just as they do.
The best coaches in tennis and other sports monitor their progress and give them a pat on the back for a job well done so they can take pride in what they have achieved and be aware of how far they have gone after all the hard work and training.
Respect involves following the rules and accepting incontestable, impartial decisions. It is also linked to displays of sportsmanship, which is something very important children players can carry forward, especially if they become professional athletes in the future.
At a young age, child athletes learn that having sufficient rest and sleep, eating nutritious meals, and being physically active are key to ensuring they remain strong and competitive on the playing field.
Whether child athletes are engaged in individual or team sports, they learn to be accountable for whatever outcome stems from their performance. They understand early on that playing the victim and pointing fingers when they lose are unproductive.
The coach pointing out how much or how little they trained for the event inevitably makes them realize that it is their effort (or lack thereof) that has resulted in their defeat, and that they can only hope to prepare better and do better the next time around.
Finally, in sports, time is of the essence. Children actively engaged in sports activities know the value of time: time for practice, time for rest, time for studies and time for play. They know when they need to be out there in the field. They need to be on time or not come at all.
These are just a few of the values gleaned from engaging in sports. Children learn through practice, and they learn soon enough later in life that these values not only carried them through childhood and adolescence, but also throughout their adult life.
A veteran C-level executive with more than 25 years of experience across multi-faceted industries including Leisure & Recreation, Barry Bremner joined Zayed Sports City as Director of Business & Corporate Services in 2009 and was appointed to General Manager in 2013. During his time with Zayed Sports City, he has developed and implemented new management systems as well as raised the profile of the organization by securing leading events to take place at Zayed Sports City, including: WWE, Monster Jam, the U-17 World Cup, FIFA Club World Cup and the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. During his tenure at the property, annual visitors to Zayed Sports City have increased from 420,000 in 2009 to 1.3m in 2016.