Sport and exercise

Exercise gives you a healthy mind and body. But if you're facing any problems in sport, or struggling to get into it, we're on your side. 

Getting active

Sport and physical activity make you fitter and improve your mental health. Exercise helps you deal with stress and can help you overcome new challenges.

And sport isn't only for people who are really ‘sporty’ or competitive. It’s important to find what you like doing. It could be a team sport like football, netball or hockey. Or it could be individual like running or yoga.

We also know sport can sometimes be stressful. You might get picked for the team last. Or it might feel like there's loads of pressure on you. But whatever it is, we’re here to help.

5 great things about sport:

  • keeps you fit and healthy
  • improves your mental health
  • can help you make friends - or give you time to yourself
  • helps you deal with stress
  • can boost your confidence.

Getting into sport

Finding the right sport for you

5 weird and wonderful sports:

  • synchronised swimming
  • roller blading
  • yoga
  • jujitsu
  • climbing.

Do you know any other exciting sports? Let us know on the message boards!

Bullying in sport

Sport is for everyone, and nobody has the right to bully or leave you out.

Some sports are really physical, and it’s natural that you might get knocked sometimes. But if someone is intentionally hurting you, saying nasty things or singling you out then that could be bullying.

It’s not always clear what’s bullying and what’s not. If you’re worried, you could ask:

  • your coach or teacher
  • your parent, carer or an adult you trust
  • someone at your sports club
  • a Childline counsellor.

Dealing with pressure in sport

Lots of sports are competitive, which means you might feel pressure to win or do well. You might be pushing yourself to do well, or someone else might be pressuring you.

Pressure can be a good thing sometimes, but not if someone’s hurting you or making you feel bad about yourself. Whatever’s happening, if something is stopping you enjoying sport then it’s important to get help.

If you’re feeling pressured in sport, there are things that can help:

  • focus on how YOU thought you played, not on what other people think
  • take a break when you need to, especially if you’re upset or frustrated
  • try asking other people how you could improve, rather than focusing on things you don’t do well
  • tell someone you trust or talk to Childline if something doesn’t feel right or if someone’s hurting you
  • if pressure keeps stopping you from enjoying your sport, think about asking for a different coach, or joining a different team.

tackling body image issues

This Girl Can

Exercise is a great way to build confidence and start feeling more positive about yourself. To stop body image issues get in the way, try to:

  • know that exercise doesn’t have to mean being the best in the football team, it can also mean jogging, skipping or cycling
  • remember there’s no such thing as the “wrong” body for sport or activity
  • know that how you see yourself isn't always how other people see you
  • talk to someone you trust, like a Childline counsellor
  • write a list of things you like about yourself.

sexual abuse and sport

You have the right to be safe when you play a sport. This also means not being abused in any way.

Sexual abuse is when someone is forced, pressurised or tricked into taking part in any kind of sexual activity with another person.

Anyone can be sexually abused, both girls and boys. If you're worried about sexual abuse in your sports team or club, it’s important to get help.

Any kind of abuse is always wrong. It’s not your fault and you don’t have to cope on your own. Get support from our counsellors.

Discrimination in sport

Discrimination in sport is not okay. You should be able to play a sport you enjoy, no matter what your race, age, gender, religion or sexuality is.

However, sometimes leagues and teams are based on things like age or gender. Some teams might only have girls in them and other teams might just have boys. Often sports teams will only include people who are the same age, so that when you play you're competing against people of a similar ability to you.

But if you do experience discrimination, you don’t have to face it alone. Talk to someone you trust – this might be someone in your sports club, or someone at home or school. It’s important that you feel comfortable with whoever you choose to talk to.

If you're at a football match and see any kind of discrimination (for example, homophobia or racism) then you can report what happened anonymously through the Kick it Out app.

Sports for young people with a disability

Working in a team