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    Reasons why your child should play cricket this summer
Reasons why your child should play cricket this summer
Young cricketers. Source: Sports Movement

Reasons why your child should play cricket this summer

As the world becomes increasingly fast-paced, there is a growing risk that children may drop out of or never find interest in sports. With the rise of engaging digital activities like Fortnite, FIFA, and virtual reality, children may be less inclined to leave the house and participate in physical activities, regardless of their age.

Cricket can be the perfect antidote to these sedentary pursuits. When played with the right people, it can become a lifelong passion and hobby. This is especially important given that over 38 million children under 5 globally are overweight or obese. Providing children with activities outside of screen time, such as cricket, is crucial.

Engaging young children in a sport like cricket not only has physical benefits but also supports their social and mental development. This stands in contrast to the isolating effects of time spent on devices like the PlayStation 5. There are many compelling reasons for children to prioritise cricket over purely digital forms of entertainment and recreation.

Gets Kids Moving

Playing cricket can provide physical benefits. For instance, sprinting between wickets gives a good aerobic workout. It shares some fundamental elements with martial arts, dance, and music, such as measures, tempo changes, timing, velocity, and proper technique execution and simplification. This allows children to connect their learning across different subjects and skills, broadening their perspectives. Whether playing casually or competitively, children get a good workout from cricket as it is a cardiovascular exercise that engages their muscles. This makes it a well-rounded sport. The act of getting up and being active through sport leads to overall improved fitness. While cricket may not demand the continuous 90-minute physical exertion of football, it still requires a different type of fitness and stamina for players to perform at their best.

Little cricketer. Source: Pinterest
Little cricketer. Source: Pinterest

Social Skills

Cricketers often develop friendships and rivalries as they meet many people through local, national, and international competitions over the years. Highly skilled players may even have the opportunity to train overseas and compete in prestigious tournaments, which could one day include the Olympic Games. Children clearly enjoy the challenge of improving their technical skills, but the social aspect of being with friends is what they love most.

The social element of cricket is also important for adults. Making new friends and connections, even finding services like a good builder, is a key part of the cricket experience. It's a sport that brings people together.

For young children who often struggle to see beyond their own perspective, being part of a cricket team teaches them to support, cheer, and help each other. This allows them to start understanding their relative role and place in the world. Learning to consider the viewpoints of their teammates is a valuable lesson that cricket can provide for developing children.

Concentration

Cricket requires the development of crucial skills, particularly concentration. During the long stretches of play where a player may not directly interact with the ball, they must remain focused and attentive, ready to seize any opportunity that arises. When that critical moment comes, such as a catch, the player must be fully switched on to execute successfully.

Another key physical skill that the sport teaches is hand-eye coordination. From facing fast bowling to making sharp catches, cricketers demonstrate exceptional hand-eye development that sets them apart. Even young, inexperienced players can learn to focus intently on the small, fast-moving ball required for activities like bowling and wicket-keeping. Concentration is vital across batting, bowling, and fielding in cricket.

The concentration abilities honed through cricket can then be applied to other areas of the player's life, making it a crucial skill to acquire.

Mental skills

Cricket is an excellent mental exercise that cultivates important cognitive skills. Serious players cannot help but develop greater powers of observation and strategic understanding as they progress in the game. At the highest levels, cricketers must master a full repertoire of shots or bowling variations, while also learning to read and anticipate their opponents' thoughts and character. This allows them to outmanoeuvre opponents by subtly leading them into making mistakes, making them feel in control when the cricketer is actually directing the contest.

Beyond just the physical benefits, playing any sport, even from a young age, has a positive impact on a child's mental and emotional well-being. Sports participation helps reduce stress and releases feel-good hormones, while also boosting focus and attention-critical skills for learning in general.

Cricket, in particular, provides an excellent platform for cultivating mental acuity, strategic thinking, and emotional regulation - capabilities that have wide-ranging benefits beyond just the sport itself.

Teaching Confidence

Learning new skills is always a source of great pride and accomplishment for young children. Achieving important developmental milestones, like standing or taking first steps, fills parents with joy and pride.

Learning the core skills of cricket not only builds a child's confidence but also visibly grows their self-esteem as they master the smaller steps needed to reach their goals. Cricket is a unique sport in that it is a team game, but success is largely determined by individual performance. When bowling or batting, the child is exposed and must take responsibility for their own execution, which is a powerful learning experience that builds confidence.

However, this individual aspect of cricket does not diminish the incredible feeling of being part of a team. Even individual achievements are often overshadowed by the shared joy of winning as a team. The personal satisfaction of a good performance is amplified when it contributes to the team's success.

Overall, learning cricket skills provides children with opportunities to develop confidence, self-esteem, and an appreciation for both individual and team accomplishments.

Cricket friendship. Source: Mediabank
Cricket friendship. Source: Mediabank

Ideal School Leisure

Cricket can be played in a variety of settings, both indoors and outdoors, on different surfaces like basketball courts, asphalt, or grass. This versatility allows instructors to observe students both as individuals and as part of a team.

Cricket appeals to all children, not just those who are typically larger, stronger, or faster. This is beneficial, as in some sports, children who don't fit the mould of a "typical" player may be discouraged from actively participating. This can lead to less involvement and a negative experience for the child, as well as making it more difficult for the instructor to assess the student fairly.

In contrast, cricket rewards attributes like patience, technique, and intelligence over physical stature. This encourages all children to participate, including those who may have been disaffected in other athletic activities.

Learning cricket skills can promote discipline, self-assurance, responsibility, coordination, strength, decision-making, positive social interaction, and tactical thinking in kids.

It instils discipline, as children must consistently practice fundamentals like batting, bowling, and fielding to improve. This disciplined approach builds self-assurance, as mastering these skills gives children a sense of accomplishment and competence.

Developing cricket skills also requires coordination, strength, and decision-making. The physical techniques of the sport challenge children's motor skills and physical capabilities. And in game situations, they must quickly evaluate options and make tactical decisions.

Practising and playing cricket provides positive social interaction with both peers and adult coaches/instructors. Children learn to cooperate as part of a team, communicate effectively, and navigate competitive situations in a constructive way.

Finally, cricket inherently teaches tactical thinking. Whether deciding when to take a run, which delivery to play, or how to set up a dismissal, children must analyse the situation, anticipate their opponent's moves, and devise a plan to overcome the challenge. This problem-solving ability is a valuable life skill.

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