Emotional Well-Being: How Can Sport Help?

Having enjoyed welcoming children back to our inclusive sports camps over the summer holidays, many of which were our Healthy Body: Healthy Mind camps in partnership with Arterne, it seems appropriate to touch on some of the most important benefits that sport and physical activity can have on young people. Although we pride ourselves on delivering activities that challenge and develop physical capabilities, an often-overlooked aspect of taking part in regular physical activity is that of mental health and emotional well-being. 

What is emotional well-being?

Emotional well-being is defined by the Mental Health Foundation as “a positive sense of wellbeing which enables an individual to be able to function in society and meet the demands of everyday life”. The emotional well-being of children is deemed by specialists to be just as important as their physical health however an alarming statistic warns that 70% of children and young people who experience a mental health problem have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age. Whilst, children and adolescents have many changing elements which could affect their emotional well-being, physically, socially and emotionally, keeping in good physical health, having the time and freedom to play and taking part in extra-curricular activities are widely recognised to have significant positive impacts.

"Most children grow up mentally healthy, but surveys suggest that more children and young people have problems with their mental health today than 30 years ago. That’s probably because of changes in the way we live now and how that affects the experience of growing up."

The Mental Health Foundation

How does sport play help emotional well-being?

By interacting with other children of a similar age, in a safe and relaxed environment, it becomes easier to build lasting relationships and remove potential barriers to participation. Add to that the stimulus of learning new skills and enjoying new games, we hope to encourage children to take part in physical activities and sports for many years to come. Giving them extra-curricular activities to look forward to and giving them the opportunity to develop life skills to cope with whatever is thrown at them.

New Friendships and Social Interactions

One key outcome from our summer camp programme was the building of new friendships and social interactions. The skills to be able to make new friends and work in different groups as part of a team is found throughout many sports but more importantly, it is a key social and emotional skill required in everyday life. With a large portion of the last school year being missed, it was especially apparent during the summer camps that social mixing and spending time with friends was a huge benefit to our attendees.


It is important to encourage positive self-efficacy, building confidence and ability to complete tasks. Positive reinforcement and support can help build a child’s self-esteem and belief in themselves. Key skills can be developed, such as teamwork and leadership; skills sometimes lost in an era of television and video games. Our trained coaches all have a vast array of experiences from different backgrounds, enabling us to offer a wide-reaching knowledge and understanding of how physical activity can help children in different ways.

With half-term fast approaching, we cannot wait to get back to running our camps and seeing positive development from those who attend, be that physically, mentally or emotionally. We have some exciting new coaches who, alongside our existing team, will bring some fresh games and energy to our fun filled days. Our aim is to continue offering a fresh experience of sport and physical activity, where children can learn, develop life skills and leave with a smile on their face.

Steve Tucker

By Steve Tucker

Sport Development Manager


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