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

Bullying is never okay, no matter where it happens. Telling an adult you trust is the first step in getting it stopped.

Some sports are really physical and you could get knocked around a bit. It might not be bullying – it could just be a normal part of the sport. But if people keep saying nasty things or keep targetting you to be hit or tackled, this is bullying. It’s not okay. Telling an adult often helps.

If anyone makes you angry, use that anger to train harder, go faster or play better.

Dealing with pressure in sport

A lot of sports can be really competitive. And you might feel pressure to do well. This could come from other people or from yourself. But there are ways to make sure sport stays fun.

Try hard and do as well as you can. Nobody can ask any more of you. Be proud of your effort.

If you’re happy with the way you played, you shouldn’t have to compare yourself to other players in your team.

Sometimes coaches and teachers can put young people under a lot of pressure to do well. You could also feel pressure from your parents to do certain sports. It’s important to tell the adult how the pressure is making you feel. They may not know how their behaviour is affecting you.

Coping with pressure: top tips

  1. if a bad game affects your confidence, get out there quickly and start playing again
  2. focus on how YOU thought you played, not how anyone else thought you played
  3. give yourself time for things to get better
  4. if pressure keeps stopping you from enjoying it, you could try taking up a different sport or joining a different club or team
  5. remember it’s ok to tell an adult you trust about pressure being too much.

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