7 Pros and Cons of Most Popular Kids’ Sports

The popularity of different sport that kids are interested in vary by age, gender and personality traits. Each sport has its own positives and negatives despite there popularity ratings. Each type of sport has specific type components that each parent should be familiar with before enrolling their child, spending a lot of time, money and patience into the sport or activity of their child’s choice.

Here a few possible pros and cons of each most popular kids sports activities in Canada:

Hockey

Hockey is the 4th most popular sport in Canada.

Pros:

1.  Effective aerobic exercise

  • Good cardiovascular workout;

  • 30 min burns 240 calories; and

  • Improves general physical health (3)

2. Character building

  • Develops sense of teamwork and good sportsmanship.

  • Teaches correlation between the action, reaction, and the consequences. (3)

  • A lifelong sport – part of Canadian life.  (3)

Cons:

  1. Most expensive sport, the average cost $1,666 annually; (4)

  2. It’s a contact sport, high risk of injury (shoulders, elbow, back, hip, ankle) bruises, sprains, and strains. Most serious is head injury- concussion, which can lead to life-serious health problems or even death; (4)

  3. Need to search for area skating ice rinks and programs, which might be too far, or starts too late; (4)

  4. Tournaments can require weekend long hotel stay and travel expenses; and (4)

  5. Commitment takes time away from friends and other sports and hobbies. (4)

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Soccer

Soccer is the most popular sport for boys and girls in Canada.

Pros:

  • Help to stay fit and healthy

  • Improves cardiovascular health

  • Improves coordination;

  • Increase strength;

  • Improves flexibility; and

  • Improves gross motor skills (stand, run, jump, throw or catch a ball, etc. ) (5)

  • It’s a team sport, so it teaches importance of teamwork. (5)

  • Popular among boys and girls (boys teams, girls teams and mix teams as an option).

  • Boost self-confidence and self-esteem - kids learn to believe in themselves  (5)

  • Increases social interaction (5)

  • Stimulates cognitive development

  • Improves problem-solving skills;

  • Increases cognitive flexibility (take failure and wins as an experience); and

  • Improves concentration and focus (5)

  • It is a competitive sport, so it creates motivation and drive. (5)

Cons:

  • Number one sport for boys and girls that cause injuries

  • Collisions might cause concussions;

  • Bruises, sprains and strains are quite common; and

  • ACL (knee ligament) tears can cause life-lasting complications (1)

  • Competitive soccer can involve serious financial investment. (5)

  • Of season indoor soccer fields may not be available in your area (check ahead of time) (5)

  • Weekly time-consuming activity plus often weekends’ tournaments, which might require extensive traveling (5)

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Swimming is a number one organized sport in Canada, with 1, 1million kids signed up for it. (1)

Pros:

  • Good physical exercise

  • Requires the use of the entire body

  • Greatly improves cardiovascular health  (6)

  • Low chance of traumatic injury, because it is non-contact sport (except team water sports such as water polo) (6)

  • Increase safety on water for kids (6)

  • Improves coordination –lots of synchronization between the arms and legs movement, breathing and overall body movement (6)

  • Increase confidence and self-esteem (6)

Cons:

  1. You have to rely on availability of outdoor/indoor swimming pools in your area  

  2. Lessons can be costly

  3. Need to consider possibility of an allergic reaction to chlorine, have to know that chlorine fumes are linked to asthma. Choose (if available) the swimming pool with alternative methods of water sanitization  (6)

  4. Water is a perfect environment to spread contagious diseases, such as Athlete’s foot, if not cleaned properly (6)

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Basketball is the six most popular sport for Canadian youth after swimming, soccer, dance, hockey and skating with 354,000 kids (age 3-17). (17)

Pros:

  1. Low cost sport

  2. Socializing is a big part of training and games

  3. Burns a lot of calories, makes kids very athletic

  4. Contribute to growth

  5. Improve hand-eye coordination

  6. Boost self-confidence

  7. Teaches teamwork

  8. Improves decision-making time and teaches stress handling

Cons:

  1. Contact sport, thus traumatic injuries are quite common. Hard on ankles, knees and face. (9)

  2. Sport of sudden movements, which can cause self- inflicted trauma (sprains, Jumper’s knee, patellar tendinitis) (7)

  3. Height requirement – basketball favours tall players! (7)

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Gymnastics is the “athletic foundation” of the young generation. (18)

Pros:

  • Improves physical health

  • Improves body coordination;

  • Increases balancing skills:

  • Improves gross motor skills;

  • Improves flexibility; and

  • Develops strong and healthy bones (10)

  • Promote social skills

  • Improves self-confidence

  • Increase self-determination to task accomplishment

  • Gender neutral sport

  • Improves self- discipline (10)

Cons:

  • High potential for injury

  • Takes tremendous skills, effort and strength

  • Requires body weight management

  • Competitive gymnastic requires commitment to the high number of training hours (10)

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Martial Arts is an umbrella term that includes many disciplines, like karate, judo, taekwondo, aikido, kung-fu and others. Those are considered to be the most suited for children. (19)

Pros:

  • Kids get comfortable with on-the-ground, close-quarter contact (that is how all kids’ fights are) (11)

  • Philosophy of martial arts is very beneficial for kids (respect, only self-defence, stand –up for weak). (11)

  • Gain self-control and self-confidence

  • Learn to solve conflict

  • Kids learn how to take hits (literally and figuratively speaking) –how to take that “hit” and get back up immediately (11)

Cons:

  1. May give false sense of security (kids get their black belts too early) (11)

  2. Lots of bad not-qualified instructors

  3. It can be expensive

  • Monthly fees

  • Equipment cost (wears off a lot)

  • Belts/ranks promotion fees (11)

4.  Can get hit once in a while (12)

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Dance: there are so many styles for kids to choose from such as ballet, contemporary, ballroom dance, hip-hop, tap-dancing and many more. (20)

Pros:  

  1. Physical activity/ fitness

  2. Social interaction

  3. Promotes creativity (16)

  4. Lots of different styles to try (16)

  5. Academic achievement- dance touches on math (with patterns and counting), science (spatial and bodily awareness), social studies (learning about dances of different cultures), history (history of dance and culture) etc. (16)

Cons:

  1. Professional dancing may cause injuries (foot and ankle injury is common for ballet) (15)

  2. Can cause self-esteem issues, especially in younger dancers who may not look like the rest of the class or have troubling picking up choreography (15)

  3. Money – a month of dance classes can run anywhere from $150 to $400, depending on what you are doing (15)

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Football is one of the world's most popular competitive sports. It is popular mostly in the United States where football is the number one spectator sport (20), but widespread across Canada as well.

Pros:

  1. Helping to stay in shape (childhood obesity one of the world’s biggest problem)

  2. Kids who play do better at school

  3. Organized sport teaches collaboration, frustration management and respect (13)

Cons:

  1. Collision sport, hence the risk for concussion is high

  2. Injuries can have long-lasting effect: can lead to development of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

  3. Man oriented sport (13)

  4. Significant commitment of time (14)

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Each sport activity has its pros and cons, and it is up to your child and you as a parent to choose the one that satisfy emotional and physical needs of your child. Whatever sport your child choose discuss the possible positives and negatives that she/he might face and then make the final decision together. It’s important that your child enjoys the sport they have chosen!