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Basketball star says 'show enthusiasm'
Martin Henlan

Birmingham Bullets basketball star Martin Henlan, himself a dad, shares his experience of coaching youngsters from the ages of seven and upward.

What's the best way of encouraging your children to take part in sport?

If you show your own enthusiasm it tends to rub off on the youngsters.

I've always found that if I'm excited about participating in sport then the children I'm in contact with catch the bug pretty quickly.

What do you think is the main benefit of children getting involved in sport?

There are the obvious health benefits, but my favourite is that they instantly improve their communication and social skills, especially with team sports.

What's the best encouragement your parents ever gave you about sport?

I can always remember my parents constantly encouraging me to become involved in sport.

The best advice was to try as many different sports as possible. In junior school I played football, cricket, rounders, chess, tennis; you name it, I tried it.

How much of an issue is cost?

Despite the prohibitive cost of equipment, money doesn't seem to be the barrier to kids participation.

In basketball there is a lot of money spent on shoes and kit but the biggest expense is travel.

The children seem to either have the latest gear or not and it doesn't affect participation.

Which sports do you play with your children?

My kids are both very young, so at the moment I'm just active with them.

Lots of kicking a ball about or playing catch, anything they fancy really.

Walking and running, bike rides, swimming and playgrounds are popular at the moment.

How do you feel about your children's involvement in sport?

I think it is of critical importance. I will certainly continue encouraging my children to get involved but without any pressure.

I intend to keep regular sport an integral part of my family lifestyle.

If they don't show an aptitude for a particular sport I will still encourage them to stay active and healthy.

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There are long-term social benefits. Many players continue playing into their 50s having made life-long friends in the sport.
- Katy Hall, hockey coach


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