The loss of fun for kids in team sports is often a result of lack of playing time when the child is not considered one of the team’s top competitors, or it’s pressure from their coaches. None of these reasons for sports burnout and lack of fun seem to apply to karate. Around 70 percent of kids in the United States stop playing organized sports by the age of 13 because they say, “it’s just not fun anymore.”
Karate offers kids the opportunity to develop confidence and self-discipline. It can also inspire kids to build the foundation for fitness at an early age. One of the best things about karate is that everyone gets an opportunity to participate and develop their skills. No one is forced to sit on the bench or make tryouts in hopes to land a place on the team.
In karate, one of the most exciting aspects of the sport is that kids don’t have to be natural athletes to excel. In martial arts, everything is individualized, and kids can go at their own pace. Kids are never excluded or made to sit on the bench while other kids get to perform. The cool thing about martial arts is that all types of kids can benefit in their own way, whether they have ADHD, dyslexia, or they just learn differently. Sports can boost a child’s self-esteem, improve coordination, enhance fitness, and encourage lifelong healthy habits. But if a child isn’t the competitive type, they may get frustrated and feel discouraged in a team sport setting.
Since there is no ‘formal’ karate season, students can practice and keep up their skills year-round. It’s also complementary to many other sports where coaches are continually impressed by the focus and self-confidence that students possess when they are also enrolled in martial arts classes. And by its very nature, karate encourages a level of fitness and personal readiness that makes for better overall athleticism at any age.
With karate, kids are constantly learning new techniques. Mastering the skills needed for their next belt promotion means gaining confidence and self-discipline which are important lifelong skills. It also keeps karate practices from becoming boring or predictable. Earning a new stripe for a belt is highly motivating and encourages kids to set and achieve their long-term goals. More importantly, holding a black belt is an achievement that a child will likely treasure and be proud of for many years to come.
Karate is unique in that kids feel personally challenged without the stress of letting down the team if they aren’t as athletic as other kids. Everyone can succeed in the martial arts if they are challenged in a way that encourages confidence and an “I can do it!” attitude.