Now, Sports Training for Babies and Toddlers
Doreen Bolhuis is a Michigan-based fitness coach, who develops exercises to train young children and even babies. She founded Gymtrix, a company which offers videos to train babies. In the videos, infant athletes supervised by their parents, jump, kick and even practice baseball hitting.
Catch Them Young
Budding sports superstars are starting younger than ever. Some can barely walk. Kindergartners are taking part in soccer leagues. Baby sports is becoming a competitive business with companies named Baby Goes Pro and athleticBaby in the fray for market share. This development is surprising even youth sport experts. However, they do not think that an early start in sports can be of great advantage. There is no evidence that infancy training accelerates coordination. In fact, babies and toddlers may become injured during the training.
One reason why baby sports is becoming popular is because parents are increasingly worrying that their offspring may fall behind other kids.
Gyms for Toddlers
The Little Gym in Arizona conducts classes for babies as young as four months. And, they are popular. Totally, about 20,000 toddlers under age two have signed up for training classes in Puerto Rico, Canada and the U.S. This is a significant increase compared to last year. Not surprisingly, The Little Gym is expanding fast with branches in 20 countries. It aims to open 100 gyms in China. My Gym in California reports that 55 percent of its trainees are less than three years old.
Lil’ Kickers is a soccer school in 28 states, which has around 55,000 trainees who are younger than three years. The toddlers run and kick during training. They are also given appropriately small jerseys.
No Great Expectations
Some of these businesses have been founded by ex-athletes and gym teachers. They are careful not to make high claims about their baby sports training. Nobody is saying that these babies will become sports superstars tomorrow. They know that fancy marketing claims can invite legal trouble. So, baby sports videos are being promoted as a method to combat childhood obesity. They also help parents spend quality time with their children.
Baby Sports Videos
Gigi Fernandez, an ex-tennis player, is a co-founder of Baby Goes Pro. She says her company is careful not to suggest that anyone’s kid will become a professional athlete. She started the business when she realized there was a dearth of sports DVDs for toddlers. Baby Goes Pro sells sports videos that cover tennis, soccer, golf, basketball and baseball. They give information on sports equipment and rules. Gigi says that toddlers watching these videos may have an edge over other children when they go to a tennis court or baseball field.
However, sports doctors are skeptical whether babies and toddlers actually gain anything by watching DVDs or going to sports classes. At best, this new fad can only help toddlers become active at a younger age, thereby aiding in combating childhood obesity, which has become a scourge in the United States.