It has been long documented that physical activity not only increases physical fitness, but also increases and promotes teamwork, helps to increase mental wellbeing and learn new skills.
It has been reported that up 85% of children don’t participate in the recommended amount of exercise a week, not only contributing to the nationwide obesity surge but also having a detrimental effect on young people’s mental health. There are many reasons for this which we will explore as we go on.
But let’s start with the basics.
Why is exercise so important?
It may seem obvious but with regular exercise, children can learn new skills, gain better self-esteem, help to reduce anxiety, make new friends in sports teams, try new experiences, find something enjoyable to do in their free time and gain a better outlook on life.
Regular exercise can improve physical health which in turn means that children’s muscles and bones will become stronger, aiding in healthy growth and reducing the risk of health problems and preventable injuries.
How much exercise should my child be doing?
Everyone is different but according to the NHS children should be doing at least 1 hour of physical activity a day. This can be intense or moderate exercise which could include walking, playground activities, skipping, dancing, cycling or skateboarding.
Even an hour a day of these moderate exercises can drastically improve your child’s health and teach them new skills.
Sometimes children find it more enjoyable to be involved in team sports where they have the opportunity to meet new friends and gain a sense of achievement with others. Being involved in team sports can also teach children about winning and losing, teamwork and working with people they may not have thought to before, making them more open to people from other backgrounds and walks of life.
What sport should my child get involved with?
This is a very open question. Children get involved in sports and different teams for all manner of different reasons. Either their family has played the sport or has played for a certain team, there is an invested interest in the family, because friends are joining a certain or starting a certain sport, or because they have found an interest in from watching it on TV or online.
Whatever the reason, it is important to let the child decide what they would like to do, this way they can enjoy it more and want to get involved with exercise.
There are also some great websites about that help you and your children find a new sport to get involved with or give some great inspiration about how to keep fit and healthy.
Why don’t all children get involved with sports?
This is a big question that has a lot of answers, some that you may not have thought of.
According to BMC Paediatrics there are numerous barriers that stop children from participating in sport. These include being from low-income families meaning that they cannot afford the fees, being from an ethnic minority background, have disabilities, having little or no interest in sport, having personal concerns about body image or performance, or coming from an area that either only offers a certain type of sport or none at all.
Geographical issues when joining a team are extremely difficult to solve, especially if a family has no means of transport to somewhere else but there are things that families can do to ensure their children are getting the right amount of exercise a day.
Most children participate in PE at school but sometimes this does not inspire the children as much as another team sport could but unfortunately their family cannot afford the fees involved. Luckily, for some, there are sports teams that offer a subsidised membership which is only made possible through donations and sponsorships. The best way to find out about this is to speak to your local team’s manager to see if they offer this.
There are lots of charities that help children from disadvantaged backgrounds or from ethnic minorities get involved in sports that ‘usually’ don’t get involved in. This can be a great way to introduce those at risk of exclusion into teams and into new sports, ensuring that every can participate.
There are hundreds of factors that can create barriers for children but there are ways that you and your children can be supported by charities, government initiatives and your local sport teams.
So, now we have to find out what sports teams need to survive and to ensure that as many young people as possible can get involved.
What a sport team needs
The main thing a sport team needs is dedication and enthusiasm from those taking part. So along with the volunteers that help run youth teams, the dedicated parents and the kids involved, unfortunately funding from the children’s parents and for the sports teams are crucial.
Many local teams are run by parents and volunteers which means not only do they not get paid for their time, but a lot of funding is lacking which makes it difficult for teams to play.
This is where team sponsorship comes in.
What is team sponsorship and how does my team get it?
Team sponsorship is a lifeline for a lot of amateur teams who would simply not be able to run without the help and support from individuals, companies and charities. Sponsorships can come in forms of funding the kits for teams, ensuring there is enough money for teams to get to matches, making ‘pots’ that are used to help children gain access to the sport or helping to pay for coaches and equipment.
Individuals who have either played for a team, support a team or have children or family members in a team generously help with the running costs.
Businesses who have a vested interest in teams or see a team as a way to generate an income or simply just to give back to their local community.
Charities sponsor all sorts of teams to make sure that everyone gets the opportunities they deserve. Depending on the charity, their sole focus could just be on ensuring children from disadvantaged backgrounds or are living with disabilities can access sport and exercise.
How does my team get a sponsorship? This is a question that many sports teams ask and sometimes it can be very difficult to find the right sponsor for the team you play for, manage or support. But, the good news is there are lots of options available.
If you want to find a company that is looking to sponsor a team, there is a great website called Sponsor Seeker which allows you to contact companies who are looking to sponsor. Here you can contact a company and outline why your team should receive support from them, you can also check out what kind of company they are and if they will benefit your team.
Charities sponsor sport teams so they can support those they aim to help. For example a lot of children’s charities will sponsor a children’s sport team so that they can provide free sessions and help those who are disadvantaged become included. The best way to find out more about charity sponsorship is to contact the individual charity or, a lot of them have dedicated sponsorship pages that will let you apply.
The main thing for you to do get sponsorship is to show the world that your sports team is worth sponsoring. Whether this is because they are a successful team or because they provide a socially enterprising group.
If you are lucky, people may approach you, but a lot of the time it is best to contact company, individuals or charities that you would like to sponsor you and kindly ask if they have sponsorship opportunities available.