Challenge Points & Engagement in Sport
Why do children drop out of sports? Is it nature or nurture? Are some children born with an athletic disposition or is it something that they work hard to achieve?
Research shows there are a number of different reasons why children may not enjoy sport or eventually drop out. Dangi and Witt (2016) give an insight into a few of these reasons including lack of enjoyment or boredom, criticism, parental pressures, lack of ownership and not having enough time to participate in other childhood activities.
With the Bear Essentials Sport App, we have considered a lot of these reasons, and more, when creating the App in an attempt to make it as useful as possible.
To keep users engaged and stop them getting bored, we’ve added a range of different, functional, exercises into our workouts and with the specially designed algorithm the user should never have the same workout twice. All workouts are short and sharp.
By making the App user friendly and very simple, it will allow children to take ownership of their own progress and develop at a level they are comfortable with. We do want parents to be with their child when using the App to make sure they are capable of performing the particular exercise, but this should be in a purely supportive manner and not influencing the child as much as possible unless there is a safety issue.
The main reason, from my experience, why children don’t engage in and enjoy sports is because they perceive that they aren’t particularly good at sports.
As all teachers know it is important to differentiate when learning to cater for the different ability levels within a class. This is because of children’s different challenge points. If a child finds something too easy or too hard for them they are more likely to switch off and not enjoy the activity. This is the same in sport. If a child finds something too easy or too hard then they are likely to not enjoy what they are doing. If a child is stronger and faster than other children, they are then more likely to enjoy sport as chances are they will be one of the better children.
I believe that any child can get stronger and faster with just a little bit of effort. As Dangi & Peter state, trying to make exercise fun is a great way to increasing kids engaged in sport – this was one of the driving factors for creating the App. It allows children to have fun working in the comfort of their own home, in a safe learning environment without the pressure of competing against anyone else.
Our hope is that we can build children’s confidence by helping them to develop their functional movements, co-ordination, speed and strength and, in turn, have a more positive experience when taking part in sport.