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Team sports alienate inactive children
The report, launched by Boris Johnson and Mo Farah says frisbees, cheerleading and Zumba dancing should be used to engage young people in physical activity who are turned off by traditional school sports.
"The emphasis on traditional, competitive team-based sports is out of line with the way many young people want to participate. The overriding emphasis on competitive sports is at odds with the motivations and drivers of many of the young people who are currently inactive," according to the report, which will prompt fresh debate on the best way to capitalise on the legacy of the London Olympics.
It singled out the coalition's new School Games initiative, which is based on competition and was introduced after Michael Gove, the education secretary, sparked an angry backlash by scrapping the dedicated money schools in England received to boost sport, as an example of the wrong "focus on orthodox, competitive sport". David Cameron recently made clear his view that competitive team and individual sports should be central to the planned new primary school PE curriculum and that they would inspire all pupils to take part.
Will Norman, co-author of the report and the thinktank's director of research, said: "Kids want to do much more informal sports like street running, parkour and Zumba-type activities that are very flexible, can be done wearing different types of clothing or while listening to music and can be done individually. Competitive sports will work for some people. But if we want to get the most inactive active, we need to change our thinking. We need a philosophy that's driven by the people we are trying to target and not provide things that the most inactive don't want to do."