BT Press Releases

DC11-311                                                               December 28, 2011

Kids find football the most sociable sport

New research sponsored by BT Coaching for Life, has found football to be the most sociable sport, with 59% of children who play football regularly having 17 friends or more. Three quarters of those parents described their kids as active and sporty. The top ten most social sports were revealed to be:

1. Football – 59%
2. Swimming – 56%
3. Rugby – 20%
4. Ballet/dance classes – 19%
5. Athletics – 18%
6. Netball – 16%
7. Martial Arts – 16%
8. Tennis – 15%
9. Cricket – 13%
10. Gymnastics – 13%

[The percentages relate to children with 17 friends of more]

Coaching for Life programme is aimed at 6 to 11 year olds, and encourages parents and carers to help children try different sports. The programme also includes 12 flexible games available as a downloadable application. The smart phone application means that wherever and whenever you want to get involved in sport, the Coaching for Life games are always in your back pocket. The resource is part of the Communication, Collaboration and Citizenship strand of Get Set, the official London 2012 education programme.

The survey also revealed that nearly two thirds of parents (60%) actively encouraged their kids to join teams and clubs to increase their circle of friends and more than half of parents (57%) believe that by taking part in sports their children’s friendship groups will grow.

The figures highlight a strong link between being involved in sports and popularity, as the more teams and clubs a child is active in, the more interaction they will have with peers resulting in more friendships.
Leon Taylor, former Olympic silver medallist and BT Coaching for Life ambassador, said: “Make praise your main tool, the most powerful tool you have as a coach is praise – but be careful to ensure you praise effort not talent. Remember to always be enthusiastic and lively to keep the children engaged and interested. Let children know that mistakes are okay. Finally and most importantly make sure you have fun!”

The research also revealed that 86% of parents would rather their children take part in sports and outdoor pursuits, than playing computer games or watching TV indoors.
The research found that being involved in sports not only means children are more social, but they are better behaved too, nearly half (44%) of teachers surveyed said sporty children concentrate more and are well behaved in class.

Julie Hindley, BT Community Investment Manager, said: “Sports play a really beneficial role in children’s lives and can make a big difference in terms of health, well being and performance in other areas of life. As a sustainability partner to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, BT is encouraging parents and carers to help children try different sports together by introducing parents to key coaching principles they can adopt to help children get better at anything they tackle with the Coaching for Life programme.

“Whether your child belongs to every club going or just enjoys playing with friends in the park, it's important they get plenty of physical activity. Sports don’t just have to be restricted to school or after school clubs. Parents need to make the most of their weekends and get involved with sports with their kids, and use the skills learnt through sport as a way of educating children about other areas of life.”

Enquiries about this news release should be made to the BT Group Newsroom on its 24-hour number: 020 7356 5369. From outside the UK dial + 44 20 7356 5369. All news releases can be accessed at our web site:

Notes to editors:
Research was carried out by OnePoll questioning 2,300 UK adults in October 2011.

Coaching for Life is one of three educational programmes that BT is running as a London 2012 sustainability partner. The other two are Big Voice and the Communication Triathlon.

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About Get Set

Get Set is the official London 2012 education programme for schools and colleges across the UK. It provides free learning resources for 3-19 year olds to find out more about the Games and explore the Olympic Values of excellence, friendship and respect, and the Paralympic Values of determination, inspiration, courage and equality. It also offers access to exciting prizes and opportunities through participation in competitions and partner programmes. There are over 21,000 schools and colleges registered with Get Set.

BT Big Voice is part of Get Set + and is featured within the Communication, Collaboration and Citizenship theme.

The Get Set network is the London 2012 reward and recognition scheme for the active community of schools and colleges across the UK that are demonstrating a commitment to living the Olympic and Paralympic Values. Members of the network gain the right to use the London 2012 education logo, and are given priority access to the most exclusive prizes and opportunities, including tickets to the Games at no cost to the school/college through the London 2012 Ticketshare initiative. There are currently over 11,000 members of the Get Set network.

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