Athletics comprises a series of track and field sports, usually held outdoors. Most events rely on the competitor's stamina or speed. Organised athletics can be formally traced back to 776 BC and the Ancient Greek Olympic games. The Amateur Athletic Association was set up in England in 1880, but formal athletics had been growing in popularity since the 18th century. Professional athletics is now one of the cornerstones of the Olympics and Commonwealth games.
Many events take place in direct competition with competitors. These can include, but are not limited to, sprints, marathons, hurdles, and relays. Other events require competitors to beat others scores to win. These include hurling, long jump, high jump, and shot-put.
A video of Athletics for Kids
Information on athletics for kids in South Africa
Is athletics right for your kids?
Due to the diverse range of athletic events available, your child has lots of options to try out and practice. This diversity makes it one of the most amazing kids activities. Track events generally focus on speed or endurance, while hurling events tend to focus more on strength and technique. There are also clubs for people with disabilities, and the Paralympics boasts a number of athletic events.
Athletics also encourages children to work together as part of a team to reach a common goal.
Children under 14 are eligible to join athletics clubs for kids. To find an athletics club near you, visit the official athletics website for South Africa, Athletics SA. Registration fees can vary for athletics activities for kids. Some are free, but fees may range from R100-R200 per child for a full season. Athletics events are usually held on a Saturday morning for approx. three hours. You can also find athletic information in the ActiveActivities directory.
Get your kids started!
All athletic events require children to have a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and a pair of running shoes. Some The following equipment may need to be purchased for certain events:
- A discus
- A hammer
- A baton
- A javelin (not suitable for children under 11)
- A shot put (not suitable for children under 11)
Equipment is usually available for hire through associations or sporting outlets.
Tips for success
- Wear appropriate shoes for your chosen event
- Focus more on technique at the start - speed and strength will come later
- Warm up and stretch before starting taking part to avoid muscular strain