High participation rate of Australian children in sporting clubs

7 April 2011
In Australia 1.7 million children play some form of organised sports after school according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics: image of kids playing rugby

The good news for Australian kids: the benefits of playing organised sport go beyond improved fitness.

Of the 2.7 million children aged five to 14 living in Australia, an estimated 1.7 million children play some sort of organized sport outside of school hours with a club or sporting association (Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, October 2009 report).

Despite these excellent figures, the Australian Government wants to see more children playing sport because the benefits extend far beyond keeping children healthy and fit.

Benefits of sport beyond just staying fit

The evidence is overwhelming that children benefit in many ways from partication in organized sporting club activities. The Federal Government recognizes the benefits and have started a ‘Play for life … join a sporting club’ campaign run by the Australian Sports Commission. According to the commission’s website:

We all know that physical activity is important for healthy growth and development of our children. Joining a club sport adds a new dimension – it helps develop valuable life skills such as co-operation, discipline, respect and tolerance.

Sydney University senior lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Social Work supports this view that children benefit in many ways from participation in organized sports. According to Dr Richard Light, children learn fair play, gender identity, self motivation and much more through participation in sport activities.

The book, Sport in the lives of young Australians, by Dr Light gives some great insights about how to develop physical education programs that engage and develop kids’ abilities – it’s perfect for sports coaches, trainers and teachers.

Find more information on children, health and sports

Visit the Play for life … join a sporting club website to find a sport and local club near you.

Visit the Australian Sports Commission’s website pages about children and sport.

The Queensland Government website has information on how to get children aged six to eight involved in sport.

Most state governments have information on their websites about children, health and sports. See for example, the Victorian Government website page: Sport and children.

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