Children should take part in multiple sports, says researcher


Kids between the ages of six and 12 should not spend too much time on one sport, according to a researcher at UGent. Multiple activities lead to a better development of motor skills

Should children take part in a variety of physical activities rather than concentrating on just one sport?

Government’s Multimove programme on target

Children should practice a large variety of sports rather than devoting their efforts to a single one in order to fully develop their motor skills. Researcher Job Fransen of Ghent University found that children are better able to develop basic motor skills through a variety of movement.

Fransen recommends that children between the ages of six and 12 learn skills like climbing, rolling, running and catching. “Too many young children now focus on one sport that they like,” said Fransen. “This early choice results in a narrow movement repertoire, making it harder to successfully master other sport skills.”

The research confirms the necessity of Flemish initiatives like Multimove, a collaborative project between Flemish minister of sport, Philippe Muyters, the sport sector and different universities. Launched in 2011, Multimove stimulates the motor development of children between three and eight years old through a programme of varied activities. Multimove is made up of 104 pilot projects in 75 sport clubs and 29 municipalities – reaching almost 5,000 children.

According to new research, to fully develop their motor skills children should practice multiple sports rather than focusing on a single one.

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