With Dubai’s busy work schedules and demanding school curriculums getting active and playing sports can be difficult for families living in Dubai. Sports science-based research based on long term athletic development and late specialization shows that in order to maximize their potential children should play at least 3 sports between the ages of 3-11 to maximise their sporting potential.

First, we will look at the research that shows why this is the case and then give some tips on how you can get your child involved in multiple activities here in Dubai!


The Research

A study by Ohio State University also supports the concept of long term athlete development, finding that 42/47 of their high school football recruits were involved in more than one sport in high school as opposed to just 5 who played football in high school.

There are many examples of the concept of Long Term Athletic Development in professional sports one great example of an athlete who played a number of sports when they were younger and later specialized in one sport successfully is Jordan Speith.

The former world number 1 golfer has won numerous majors before the age of 30 and been part of recent US Ryder Cup team victories. Speith attributes a large part of his success to the fact that he was involved in other sports such as baseball and basketball as a youngster which helped him to become a well-rounded athlete and natural competitor. This has certainly paid dividends out on the PGA Tour with a reported net worth of $100 million dollars!

That said whether or not your child has aspirations of being an elite athlete or just a social sports player it is highly recommended that they get a broad range of sporting experience as a youngster. The main key is maximising your child’s potential so that they can become the best sportsperson that they can be and set up a healthy lifestyle in  the future- being a sporting natural rather than only a narrow interest in one sport helps to do this and makes it so much easier to get into new sports in later life.

What You Should Do As A Parent

So now that we have established that children should be playing at least 3 sports in order to maximise their potential, let’s look at how this can be achieved in the context of Dubai. With regards to giving your children the chance to play a variety of sports the first place to look is at academies. Looking around the market the average price for sports coaching is between AED75-100 per hour, which over the course of a year amounts to over 8000 dirhams, which on top of school fees is a large cost for a lot of families.

Don’t worry though if you are looking for cheaper ways to get your children involved in a variety of sports they are out there. Kids DXB’s award-winning Kidster program is a great example of this. The program offers sports coaching in 8 different sports and better still is unlimited access meaning that your child can attend as many classes as they wish on a Friday and Saturday. You can get started with Kidster by signing up for a 30 day trial period which will give you the chance to experience it for yourself.

Here is the Kidster program director Marcus giving you an idea of how the concept of long term athlete development is built into the Kidster program.

Taking sports coaching is a great option for your child and the effects of this will be amplified if you can integrate sports into your family life. Gathering a group of family or friends together is a great way to get active and have fun. If you are looking for spaces to rent to play sports such as tennis, badminton, or getting a group together to play sports such as football or basketball Playo offers a variety of affordable locations with venues all over town that offers a great way to play sports all at affordable prices.

As a sports professional myself one thing that I can say for sure is that the amount of time spent playing sports often correlates to being successful. The well documented 10,000-hour rule which was popularized by Malcolm Glawell in his book Outliers suggested that in order to achieve excellence in any discipline you need to dedicate a significant amount of time to it. That considered getting involved in a program like Kidster, organizing sports meetups with friends or family or just taking a bat and ball along the beach will all add up to helping your child to become a well-rounded athlete and live a healthy lifestyle.

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About Author

Tom is the director of Kids DXB, an avid sportsman Tom was involved in football, basketball, tennis, baseball and cricket as a youngster before later becoming a PGA Golf Professional. Having lived in Dubai since the age of 15 Tom has a strong knowledge of youth sport in Dubai and is passionate about the development of young athletes.

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