WHETHER it is kicking, diving, hitting, pirouetting or shooting, more than half of WA children are now involved in a sport or physical activity.
According to the Department of Sport and Recreation’s (DSR) latest statistics, 53 per cent of WA juniors were participating in one way or another between 2015 and 2016, with swimming continuing to be the pick of the bunch.
A recent report from the Australian Sports Commission, which surveyed more than 370,000 WA children, showed 30 per cent were involved in swimming, with soccer the next best at 13.7 per cent, followed by Australian football (11 per cent), dancing (9 per cent) and basketball (7.5 per cent).
It followed closely with national popularity, where the top five were swimming, soccer, Australian football, gymnastics and netball.
A DSR spokesperson said interest and involvement in junior sports had a strong link to what was going on with their senior counterparts both nationally and around the world.
“When sports develop and grow, like the new AFL Women’s league and Big Bash cricket, you see grassroots participation inspired by the new direction of the sport,” he said.
“There’s also an increase of junior membership in Olympic sports in the 12 months following the games.”
While participation in sport has always been touted as a good way to stay healthy, there are many other advantages to getting involved from a young age.
“Involvement in sport at an early age lays a good foundation for life,” the spokesperson said.
“Participation helps to build fundamental social skills, including effective communication and teamwork, encourages an appreciation of the importance of physical health and provides opportunities for achievement and success, improving confidence and self-esteem.
“When kids are involved in sport, it creates attitudes and behaviours which encourage lifelong participation.
“The Department would always continue to encourage as many children to be physically active in sport and recreation as possible; there is no magic number which is enough.”
Visit www.dsr.wa.gov.au for a list of local sports and clubs that children can join.