Keeping non-competitive kids active

Team sports can be a scary prospect for children, particularly if they’re shy or introverted. Let’s look at some activities that can be more gentle and put less pressure on your child.

Competitive sports aren’t for everyone, and that’s okay! Lots of kids would much rather take part in something that’s non-competitive, with the main focus on enjoying themselves. It can be really stressful for some children to have to take part in competitive sports. There is so much pressure to perform well and to win, that sometimes there’s no joy in it for them at all.


It might be the case that your little one finds it difficult to work well with a team and much prefers to take part in individual activities. These are more often self-guided and therefore, there is less pressure on your child. They get to decide what their goals are and if they want to push themselves or just have some fun.

We all know that our children benefit from daily exercise and getting involved in sport is a great way to make sure that this happens. With non-competitive, individual sports, they’ll get lots of the perks of competitive team sports with none of the stress. Also, lots of these sports can become competitive if your child wishes, leaving that door open for them too.


Here we look into the sports and activities that could be better suited to a less competitive child.

Martial arts

If your little one is lacking in confidence at all, martial arts are a great activity for them to get into. It will help them gain confidence, while learning some valuable self-defense skills. It’s also a great workout and can enable your child to feel part of a bigger team, which will provide them with a sense of belonging. Respect and discipline are key aspects of martial arts. They form the foundation of the practice and are important skills for children to learn.


Swimming is a wonderful, non-competitive, solo pursuit. Just getting into the water can bring so many benefits for your child. Swimming improves physical fitness, flexibility, core strength, lung capacity and much more! Research has shown that a few laps of a pool can really help your child to de-stress and feel happier, thanks to the release of endorphins. The need to focus on their breathing and each stroke they take forges the mind-body connection, enabling your little one to stay in tune with themselves and be healthier overall.


You rarely see an unhappy child on a bicycle! They tend to be invigorated and excited by the feeling of absolute freedom as they glide along. Cycling, even as part of a family group, provides them with a sense of independence as they’re in control of their own bike. Zipping around on two wheels is a great way to exercise too. It’s low-impact on joints and they’ll get to explore the outdoors at the same time – so lots of fresh air!


Gymnastics often has a competitive streak to it but it doesn’t have to be that way. Gymnastics for children can be great fun. They’ll be bouncing on trampolines, jumping around on mats and swinging from bars. What could be better as a kid! Plus, it’ll vastly improve their overall physical fitness and flexibility and introduce them to lots of other children their age, which can only be a good thing. Starting gymnastics young can really tap into the physical potential of your child as they rapidly grow and develop.


This is possibly the most accessible sport there is. Whether you take your child to run a few laps of the area, or they join a running club, the benefits are clear. Studies suggest that getting involved in sports, like running, at an early age increases the chance that your child will be active and therefore healthier later in life. Running can be truly individual and non-competitive if you wish. The stopwatch never has to come out. It’s a fantastic way for your little one to unplug from any worries of their day and to work up a sweat with no pressure of performing or being compared to anyone else.


Tennis is an amazing sport and it can be played in ways that focus on the fun side of the game, without worrying about winning or losing. There are many varieties, including swing-ball and beach tennis, that use the skills of tennis but have less pressure of competition. Your child’s coordination will really benefit from this game, along with their overall fitness.


Looking for an activity that encourages your child to express their individuality in a safe way? Well look no further because dancing is the best way for little ones to be themselves and channel their emotions through physical movements. It also builds their flexibility, general health and self-esteem which can really help a shy kid to come out of their shell. They can meet friends who are also learning to express themselves and have some fun at the same time!


Whether it’s pitch and putt, crazy golf, or the real deal, golf is a unique sport to introduce your child to. All of that time outside, walking from hole to hole and practicing a variety of skills is very beneficial for them. There’s no need to keep score if they don’t want to. Encourage them to keep trying until they get the ball in the hole but let them know that it doesn’t matter how many shots it takes. It’s all about having fun while staying active.


There are plenty of options when it comes to sports and activities for children to get involved in without having to fret over competition or team dynamics. If your child feels this way, why not give one of them a try? They can still reap the physical, mental and emotional rewards of sport but in a safer and more comfortable way.


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