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Getting Teens Off The Sofa & Into Sport
girl stretching limbs

They could sleep for Britain. When it comes to lounging around on the sofa, many teens are gold medal prospects. Much of this is hormonal. Puberty and the onset of adolescence produces vast changes in youth metabolism and in many cases the teen snoozing on your sofa is simply doing what nature intended.

But sometimes they’re just plain lazy. Chemical changes in the body didn’t prevent past generations from starting work at 14, nor many present-day teens from adapting to the highly regulated and early start lifestyle of the forces.

So, if you’re concerned about your teen’s indolent ways, how can you persuade him/her to take up sport as a means to fitness?

First off, here are a couple of dont's...
Don’t imagine the feckless, somnolent creature with his feet hanging over the arms of the settee is going to be the next Wayne Rooney. Genuine sporting talent usually emerges at a very early age. Rooney may have became an overnight sensation to watching millions at the recent Euro 2004 football championships, but his ability was spotted by scouts years ago.

It’s the same in golf, tennis, or any sport you care to mention. Tomorrow’s superstars were identified yesterday. Their careers are nurtured by coaches from childhood onwards.

Nor is it a brilliant idea to tell your teen that unless he or she does something about it now one day they’re going to be forty and fat. The average teenager can barely see their twenties looming on the horizon, let alone middle age. Threats about health problems in an unimaginably distant future are no incentive to better habits in the present. Also, you will already have discovered that nagging your teen is the best way to ensure they do nothing.

Be a good sport...
Instead, why not (gently) suggest that success in sport equals the good life. Models hanging off the arms of footballers may bring grunts of disgust from the older generation but inspire pangs of envy in teens.

Lean, toned bodies with firm muscles draw gasps of admiration not just for their athletic prowess but are physically attractive in themselves. If your boy equates sporting success with sexual allure he could soon be leaping off that sofa with a speed and grace that would win top marks in a gymnastics contest! Teenage girls are likely to be anxious about their appearance already; but what begins as figure-toning exercise can evolve into an enjoyment of sport for its own sake.

And some sports are great for meeting the opposite sex in person. Mixed doubles is the most popular form of tennis played on public courts. Swimming too is a great way to meet girls/boys.

Ulterior motive or not, once your teen begins to get actively involved in sport the likelihood is that they’ll start to enjoy it. And while they may not meet the love of their life on the other side of the net the chances are that sporting activity will play a regular part in their life as they begin to recognise the good it’s doing them.

As well, of course, as being a great opportunity to check out the talent.



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