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Dr Dan Exeter on Youth Sport

Video Transcript

Dr Dan Exeter on Youth Sport

Video Transcript

I still have two arms done what I do.

I see people who have been injured playing sport or being physically active through all ages of life that's one element of my role and I also see people who have medical problems and trying to use exercise as a way to help treat those chronic diseases.

The importance of physical activity and sport for youth is pretty clear. The world health organization's got some pretty clear guidelines on what we should be doing for our kids and for our youth and if you fast forward to how important physical activity is for people beyond the youth years it's probably the most important health intervention that we've got. 

We want them to carry on that relationship with sport and physical activity for as long as they can I think what's really interesting is when you talk to kids who show aptitude in a wide range of sports and you see why they've chosen to form relationships with some and not with others and you can see that kids are really are often really turned off by overbearing attitudes or when people are trying to push them unnecessarily.

Kids really want to be and should be sort of dabblers or samplers where they're taking part in a whole variety of sports. If even that situation where things are too pushed then kids will will push back.

Probably the greatest problem we see when kids do end up spending too much time in one sport at the expense of other sports or at the expense of other things is not necessarily the physical harms, because sometimes they are overstated, but it's the mental harms. It's the understanding that the concept of early specialization for example is associated and some research with poor mental health outcomes and with increased risks of burnout you then find a situation where the exact opposite of what you want to happen has happened. Where we're a child who's gone into sport with real skill, real aptitude, and real love for the sport, walks away from that because they've they've lost the love. 

My message to parents, coaches, and administrators is that we need to remember that sport is part of the wider concept of physical activity and being confident about being physically active in mics in my opinion is actually a life skill. It's a bit like budgeting so it's really really important I think that we make sure that that relationship with physical activity in sport when you're young is a good one so that you carry that good relationship forward through life.

We need to have that relationship established and that love established early. There will be some kids who will naturally be very very good at sport and they need to have a quality experience and in that group that means getting the balance right between giving them plenty of sport but not forcing them down a pathway of early specialisation or over training.

For the vast majority of New Zealand kids it's about ensuring that we are creating a positive experience so that they can also develop the love for sport that kids who are perhaps more naturally inclined or better at sport will do as well

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