Melissa Fernandes takes a look at new sports that are becoming hot hobbies for children
Everyone has a hobby. It could be anything from listening to music, dancing or collecting stamps to reading, writing and drawing. But are these the only hobbies one can pursue or is there room for something more fun? Hobbies are usually defined as indoor activities. But today, the definition of hobbies has grown from the conventional dancing, singing, reading and writing to include more challenging activities like roller-skating, rifle shooting, waveboarding and stargazing.
"Roller-skating is a lot of fun and doesn't take much time to learn. I eagerly wait for my roller-skating classes every weekend as I enjoy skating and never miss a class. It's one of my favourite hobbies and I never get tired when I skate," says Skyler Vaz, a class 3 student at Bombay Scottish School. Rollerskating has been around for a long time. In fact, there are many inter-school competitions in this sport, which have now gained popularity among children. Zia Shaikh, a rollerskating and wave-boarding instructor at YMCA International House, Mumbai Central says, "Rollerskating is an established sport and many children opt for it. They enjoy this sport, which is not new but different from other hobby options." Skating also has many health benefits. By skating, children can exercise and enjoy themselves at the same time. This active hobby keeps children fit, which is especially important since they spend a lot of their time studying indoors.
Wave-boarding is another hobby that is becoming popular among children. This new sport has recently been introduced in India and is in great demand among children. Wave-boarding is different from skateboarding. A skateboard has four wheels while a wave-board has just two - one behind and one in the front. All you need to do is strap your feet onto the wave-board and give it a push. You will sail through for half an hour without having to push again. You don't even have to put your leg down to gain speed as the wave board doesn't slow down and glides easily in an 'S' shape. "Waveboarding was introduced this year and has got a great response as more than 25 children have joined waveboarding classes and are enjoying the new sport. It is not an established sport and is considered as a hobby, but it is highly beneficial to children." Adds Zia.
The benefits Zia speaks of are quite significant. If you are looking for strong calf and abdominal muscles, then wave-boarding is the right sport for you. It not only helps build strength in the leg muscles, but also tones your abdominal muscles with its 'S' shaped movements. This activity also improves concentration and body balance. It does not get you tired fast and helps boost your stamina. Afzal Shaikh, a student of class 9 at Hashmiya High School and an expert in wave-boarding says, "Wave-boarding is exciting and extremely challenging as you have to learn how to balance before you can ride a wave-board. Once you learn how to balance, it all goes smoothly and you can enjoy every bit of the ride."
Like Afzal, there are many other children who have joined wave-boarding classes. But does this sport have a future and will it be recognised just like roller-skating? "We are planning to promote this sport and organise some competitions so that more children can participate and explore new sports." Says Zia.
Rifle shooting is another sport that is being taken up as a hobby by many children. Here, you have to concentrate and shoot your target with a gun or an air rifle. Jawahar Joshi, chief instructor of Academy of Rifle Shooting says, "Many children are taking an interest in rifle shooting. These days, children like taking up more challenges and are more motivated to excel and have a bright future. They involve themselves in many activities and possess many hobbies. Children above nine years of age participate in rifle shooting and are doing well. They are quick learners and don't give up easily." Rifle shooting requires high levels of concentration, which develop sharper reflexes. It builds self-confidence and develops accurate coordination between the body and mind. It can also be a stress-buster as it helps you clear your mind and concentrate. Today's hobbies are not only interesting and challenging, but also benefit the mind and body. And with vacations just around the corner, there's plenty of time to learn something new. So go ahead and take your pick - the options are endless!