To make kids appreciate triathlon more, make it more like a game than a sport
Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU
Triathlon is rapidly expanding and in more countries, triathlon for kids are becoming even more popular. It’s no surprise really, considering that triathlon incorporates three activities that kids love to do: swimming, biking, and running. Compared to other sports, triathlon has a lot going for it. If you’re one of those parents who want to get their kid into this sport, here’s how you can start.
Get them swimming
Unlike biking and running, learning how to swim requires a lot of time and practice; plus, getting them to endure the entire distance of a race is especially difficult. According to an American study, the swimming portion of a triathlon is the most dangerous, so it’s best if you can have them swim early, even if it’s just for fun. One thing you can do is sign them up for lessons. If your kid is capable, you can step it up by having them swim with groups so they can get a feel for a race.
Don’t focus on volume
An important thing you should remember is that a child is different from an adult or a teenager. Don’t worry too much on the amount or the intensity of a training. Stick to age-appropriate distances. An Australian coach once said that the younger they are, the more they are prone to burnouts so you should monitor the amount of training they get. The recommended age for races is around 8 to 10 years old.
Form and fundamentals
At an early age, it’s important to focus on the basics. Teach proper form and movement first before speed and fitness. For ages 5 to 15, it’s recommended that you apply multilateral training, which is the acquisition and development of basic movements. Triathlon works in the sense that it teaches kids three different kinds of sports to develop their athleticism even if they decide not to pursue triathlon.
The younger they are, the more they are prone to burnouts so you should monitor the amount of training they get. The recommended age for races is around eight to 10 years old
Just like most things, it’s easier to get interested in something if they can share their experience with friends. Expose your kids to teams or other groups so they’d have more of a connection with the sport. Surrounding them with other kids who play the same sport would motivate them to go to lessons or training, and it can even help them develop as an athlete.
Less stress, more fun
For some kids, everything is significantly more discouraging if it feels like a chore. The best way to promote triathlon, especially to younger kids, is to make them feel like they’re playing. Don’t introduce the sport by focusing too much on competition and training, but make it more fun for them. Making triathlon seem like a game is a good way to get them interested and a little competitive if needed.
After everything, one thing a parent or guardian should remember is that you can’t force it. If you’ve done all you can to promote triathlon and they still don’t want to do it, there’s nothing you can do but deal with it. Forcing them into it isn’t going to help your cause, and worst case scenario is they’ll end up hating it.