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By Meagan Davis
Over the last several years, Youth and Junior Triathlons have exploded in popularity.
USA Triathlon, the sport’s governing body, reports that the number of youths competing in triathlons has increased from 19,825 participants in 2007 to 57,846 in 2013. According to the New York Times, “triathlons for children have come tremendously popular, drawing participants as young as three years old.” While it’s truly amazing to hear children doing triathlons, it shouldn’t be too surprising. Kids have a knack for spending a majority of their free time running outside, riding bikes around the neighborhood, and spending hours at a time in the local pool during the summer months. These activities combined in this all-body sport can provide many added benefits for a child.
Triathlons are a Multi-Skill Sport
A triathlon is not only made up of activities children naturally enjoy, but these activities can be enjoyed on an individual level and as a team sport as well. Kids not only have the opportunity to work on individual goals to earn a medal, but have a chance to compete with others in a supportive environment with friends and family cheering them on the entire way. While many kids’ triathlons are short and do not require much training, training in a group can help a child build social skills that last for a lifetime.
Triathlons are a Total Body Sport
As physical education in school decreases, it’s become more important for children to find a way to stay active outside of school. Triathlons are a total body sport, working all types of muscle groups. For children who may not like participating in traditional sports, training and competing in triathlons can give a child goal to focus on while staying physically active; it also gives children who are naturally competitive and driven a chance to expend some energy and focus to achieve a goal. Triathlons serve as a great way for children to beat previous times or earn a spot on a podium. During off-season, triathlons can be a great way for children to build and develop physical skills for other sports such as endurance, upper and lower body strength, balance, flexibility, focus, and maintaining calm under stress. What’s more, during training and competition, young triathletes learn skills that can be applied in many other aspects of their lives such as self-discipline, work ethic, focus, and how to expel all that pent up energy.
Triathlons are a Life-Long Sport
There’s a reason why many triathletes will continue doing triathlons for the rest of their lives. The sport is an appealing sport for both children and adults. Triathlons allow children to continue to stay active for the rest of their lives, something that parents would be happy about. While other sports such as football, baseball, and soccer take a toll on the body causing overuse injuries and have strict age limitations, triathletes can compete in a many different types of triathlons throughout their life. It’s not uncommon for triathletes to still be participating in triathlons in their sixties and seventies. It’s also not uncommon for triathletes to continue on perfecting on the skills they learn as purely a form of exercise.
Triathlons are a fun and rewarding sport for kids, and provide the foundation of skills children can use for many aspects of their life…for the rest of their life. While youth training for a triathlon is much different from adult triathlon training, we always recommended that triathlons be approached in a fun and safe way. If your child would like to participate in a triathlon, his or her training must be carefully monitored to avoid injuries. Texas Swim Academy has partnered with Fury Tri Team to offer a youth triathlon program where children can train in great environment. Training with the Fury Team will begin on January 10, 2015. For more information, please feel free to give us a call!