Nowadays, young kids spend an inordinate amount of time inside, either connected to the internet via their mobile phone or laptop or playing video games. As a result, they tend to be more sedentary and spend much less time outside than previous generations.
However, kids that do enjoy the outdoors and practicing sports also seem to be less free than their predecessors. Sports nowadays are usually highly organised and competitive. In addition, when parents get into the act, they are more concerned about their kids developing their athletic ability than having fun.
In an effort to add some balance to the equation, an Atlanta based couple, Dr. Neeru and Lakshmi Jayanthi, has launched Pickup Sports, which specialises in providing sports-starter kits for children, ages three to six. The concept is based on research that shows that it is best to introduce children to multiple sports from a young age in order to encourage long-term fitness.
The sports-starter kits, which include equipment and fun games, enable parents to teach their kids sports at home. For example, a soccer kit comes with an age-appropriate soccer ball, cones and marker spots, as well as, game cards and activity books, which allow parents to teach their children about the game one step at a time. Each game included in the soccer kit helps kids learn the basics of physical literacy, like running, jumping, balancing, leaping and kicking. Pickup Sports also offers kits for baseball, basketball, volleyball, tennis and flag football.
In the last 15 years, Dr. Neeru Jayanthi, a world-renowned medical expert in the field of youth sports injuries, has published numerous research articles that show the adverse impact of playing only one sport from a young age. His research also reveals that if a child plays multiple sports from a young age, their chances of being professionally successful in sports later in life are higher.
In addition to allowing children to develop skills in multiple sports, Pickup Sports also donates kits to kids with limited access to sports. As a result of their work, Dr. Neeru and Lakshmi Jayanthi have received an endorsement from USA Volleyball and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).