Research by the University of Ghent and Vrije University in Brussels showed that children who participate in organized sports have stronger motor development than their non-athletic peers. Flemish Sports Minister Ben Waits (N-VA) answers: “Good motor development is crucial to the healthy development of children.”
The Departments of Movement and Sports Science of Ghent University and VUB showed that children who participate in organized sports score 5 percent better in motor skills and 22.8 percent on an endurance test than their non-athletic peers.
Moreover, Flemish children (8-12 years old) who combine several sports seem to develop better physical fitness. They also seem to have a more positive perception of their motor efficiency than children who only play one sport.
The average number of weekly organized sports hours during childhood also has a significant impact on children’s motor development. Based on these findings, the researchers are of the view that all children should be encouraged to participate in organized sports from a developmental and health perspective.
“Giving children a taste of multiple sports at an early age increases the chance that they will continue to play sports later in life,” Waits says. “In Flanders, we are working to expand sports participation in sports clubs by encouraging an open range of sports and multiple sports among children.” For example, the Sports Compass shows children between the ages of eight and ten the path to the sport that suits them best.