What you play shapes who you become - new study reveals positive impact of sport on child development
The HSBC survey¹, published today, reveals different sports can have a significant and unique impact on a child’s development.
Sports psychologist Jamil Qureshi says it is the link between different sports and specific values that parents and teachers will find most interesting:
The top three values most associated with football were the ability to work with others, passion and leadership. The same trio also applied to rugby union, underlining the set of values learned through team sports.
For individual sports such as athletics, the top three most associated values were self-confidence, perseverance and passion.
For golf it was perseverance, decision-making and self-confidence.
Despite the high importance attributed to sport, some 55 per cent of parents surveyed have never watched their children participate. Lack of suitable facilities seems to be a barrier to involvement, with 53 per cent believing that there are not enough opportunities for young people to take part in sport where they live.
“Sport is a crucial element in a child’s education,” commented Professor Joseph Maguire, sports sociologist from Loughborough University. “It helps create character, develop courage, honesty and leadership.”
“What sports people play can offer clues to their personalities. Our current Prime Minister Gordon Brown, for example, often refers to the lessons he learned playing rugby at school, and following London’s selection to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games he now talks of turning sport in this country from ‘a national pastime to a national characteristic’. Nelson Mandela was a keen boxer when he was growing up, which could explain his bravery and resolve.”
As well as looking at the links between different values and sports, the study also looked at which top sports people provide the best role models to children. The voting was:
¹Survey carried out online by Henley Centre Headlight Vision who interviewed more than 1,800 adults in the UK, US and China.