Quick, do the homework, lace up the trainers and get out the door! To sport, to friends, to the club.
Whether it is gymnastics, football or cycling – sport means play, fun and exercise for kids. A hobby is especially fun when pursued in a club setting in the company of friends, other children and people with shared interests. Clubs come in every stripe in line with the motto, "Try everything!" Which hobby will eventually become the favorite is anyone's guess.
But one thing is certain: children who are active in sports at a young age and are members of sports clubs will benefit from these experiences for a lifetime. Here, we reveal why a cycling club, of all things, is perfect for your children and gives them so many good things to take with them.
Improving riding skills unconsciously
Children are natural experimenters and want to act on their urge to move. But who of us hasn't lived those moments when a child rejects out of hand well-intentioned tips from their parents? In the club, children tend to respond much differently to friendly advice – it is a small difference with a huge impact: the environment. Under the instructive guidance of trainers and surrounded by other kids on bikes, your child will be motivated to practice in a playful way, and as their level of safety on the bike increases, their self-confidence will also get a boost. Kids also spur each other on – what Tommy down the block can do, your children are sure to want to master, too. And that's the whole point!
Many clubs also offer the development of a training plan. This enables your advanced child to improve their skills in a more targeted manner, or maybe even prepare for their first competitions.
Engine for development and character formation
In the club, simple learning by doing sets numerous learning processes in motion, talents are fuelled, and this all happens completely unconsciously!
- A variety of different movements promotes both motor and cognitive development in your growing child. On a bike, even your youngest children will learn to combine complex movement sequences. In a club, children perfect these skills in a playful way because every bike training includes coordination and riding technique exercises that will turn your child into a really skilful rider. To prevent your kids skills getting rusty in the winter, most clubs put together a varied programme – in indoor training sessions with coordination elements and fun movement games, for instance. This helps kids develop a wide range of skills.
- Physical activity promotes better awareness of one's own body. Children not only train their overall fitness and strength, but experience the body with all of their senses and better judge their own capabilities and limitations. This helps them to develop a positive body image and self-esteem, which in turn makes them more confident in their movements and usually also gives them an upright posture.
- A sport club helps shape the personality of your child. As part of a group, your child gathers completely new experiences – in the training itself as well as in the day-to-day activities of the club. Your child will acquire loads of positive, sport-related skills, such as teamwork, helpfulness, self-confidence, self-organisation and a sense of responsibility. Your child will also learn to deal with different personalities, to be considerate of other – perhaps weaker – members and to stick together as a team because the group can only achieve something if everyone is on the same page.
Children later build on these strengths: they deal confidently with new challenges and demonstrate social skills and activism in everyday life.
Establishing social contacts
Alongside the family and school, clubs offer an important socialisation space that opens your child up to new social experiences. As children grow older, they orient themselves more towards their peers and kindred spirits – they find such persons in the club. It serves as a meeting place where they can develop and make friends outside their familiar surroundings. Fun bike excursions strengthen the sense of community, bond the kids together and forge lasting fond memories. In addition, physically fit children generally experience more social recognition and are often sought-after playmates.
Playing by the rules
Whether in the training area or in nature, your child learns to follow rules and resolve conflicts fairly. What do we mean by that?
- The club members show respect for their coaches and accept their decisions – there's no place in the club for complaining and grumbling!
- Out in nature, fair play and consideration for others are the order of the day. Children are taught to ride carefully and anticipate what lies ahead – that is, to ride with their eyes open, paying attention to other trail users, greeting them in a friendly way, and always adapting their driving style to the situation and trail conditions. This ensures peaceful coexistence in nature.
Your little ones often lack a strong fully formed competitive spirit. But as they grow, the urge to see how they measure up and to find out where they stand in direct comparison with other children increases.
Time for the first competition! Waiting at the starting line is a powerful moment, the air is emotionally charged: there's nervousness, tension and anticipation. When the finish line is crossed, there is a swell of pride and relief. Whether in victory or defeat, these experiences will leave a lifelong impression on your child. Competition teaches us to persevere, to fight through obstacles and to deal with setbacks. Through it, children become resilient and develop a healthy sense of ambition. Friendly races and relays are not only fun, but also strengthen the team spirit of young athletes.
But, wait, this is important! Competing is not all about making your child into a champion athlete. Pressuring a child usually achieves the opposite. Fun and willingness are most important. Your children decide on their own if and when they are ready to race. If your children want to participate of their own free will, it certainly makes sense to support, guide and motivate them. This is the only way to keep the enthusiasm for cycling alive in the long run, maybe even for a lifetime.
Off to training! Yes, even in fog and drizzly weather, and even when the game console beckons. After all, the bike group is only complete when your child is along for the ride. Your child will only see noticeable progress if he or she sticks with it –and you'll be proud to see them perform the first little trick with a big grin on their face.
What are you waiting for? Check out a cycling club near you!