Are these the best sports clubs for kids?

Let your little ones pursue their passion for sport and hone their skills at these diverse clubs and academies around the city.

The benefits to children playing sports are numerous. Aside from helping them get regular exercise, sports are great for developing their self-esteem, teaching teamwork, communication and leadership skills, helping them build stronger relationships and teaching them about respect and time management.

Sports are also a fun way for your child to make new friends and help balance out their schedule among all the hours spent in a classroom and doing homework.

Whether they want to play competitively or just for fun, there are plenty of places in Abu Dhabi where your children can sign up.

Horse riding

Children can saddle up to learn equestrian skills at the equestrian centre in Al Forsan International Sports Resort where youngsters aged five to 16 can learn horse riding. More experienced children can learn show jumping, dressage and vaulting under the tutelage of British Horse Society qualified instructors. Children from three to six can also join pony club on Saturday mornings to bond with horses in a safe and welcoming environment. Prices and times vary. 12th Street, Khalifa City. Contact: 02 556 8555, alforsan.com

Rugby

Children from four to 18 can develop their rugby skills by joining Abu Dhabi Harlequins, one of the capital’s longest-running sports clubs. They can learn to play tag rugby in junior age groups before practising contact rugby in the later age groups. Prices vary. Zayed Sports City, Saif Ghubash Street. Training times vary. Visit: abudhabiquins.com 

Baseball

Abu Dhabi Little Sluggers League invites boys and girls aged four to 13 years old to get into the sport and develop their skills on the pitch. Those aged four to seven can be part of the Tee Ball division to learn how to swing a bat and hit the ball of a stationary post as well as catching and running bases. Older children aged eight to 11 can join the Minor Division to improve their skills further. Term dates vary. AED 1,800 per player, AED 1,600 for additional siblings. Zayed Sports City, Saif Ghubash Street. Times vary. Contact: abudhabilittlesluggers@gmail.com, facebook.com/abudhabilittlesluggers

SwimmingMaster the water with Arabian Swim Academy where children of all ages and levels can become comfortable swimmers and learn a variety of techniques in the water. AED 80 per session. Raha International School, Khalifa City. Sun-Thu 3pm-6pm, Fri-Sat 9am-noon and 3pm-6pm. Contact: 050 680 3042, arabianswimacademy.com

Dive into swimming lessons with Hamilton Aquatics where youngsters can learn the basics of swimming from water confidence to safety and stroke techniques. Prices and times vary depending on age and level. Multiple locations including Brighton College Abu Dhabi and GEMS American Academy. Contact: 04 450 8832, hamiltonaquatics.ae

Dance

Children between three and 14 years can take their first steps in dance with Ginger Dance and Arts. Take part in classes teaching a variety of styles, including hip-hop, ballet and street dancing to learn how to master the dance floor with confidence and style. AED 65 for a single class, AED 500 for ten classes, AED 850 for 16 classes. New Emi State Tower, opposite the Mall at World Trade Center, Hamdan Street. Times vary. Contact: 02 665 1800, gingerdanceandarts.com

At the Emirates School of Dance, children from three years old up to 18 can participate in a programme with professional dancers. There’s a range of classes on offer – including hip-hop, tap, ballet, jazz, breakdance and contemporary – that are open to both boys and girls. Each class aims to give students a solid foundation in technique while allowing them to develop their self-expression. From AED 858 per term. Bodytree Studio, Hazza bin Zayed Street and Saadiyat Beach Club. Times vary. Contact: dance@bodytreestudio.com, bodytreestudio.com

Football

Boys and girls from three to 18 can join City Football Schools to learn the sport from the academy’s certified coaches and develop their understanding of the game and their technical ability on the pitch. Prices vary. Zayed Sports City, Saif Ghubash Street. Training times vary. Contact: 056 420 5685, uae.cityfootballschools.com

Children between two and 12 can sign up with Pro Active Soccer Schools to learn the beautiful game in a fun and supportive atmosphere to develop skills and techniques with the talented coaches. AED 750 for 11-week programme. The British School Al Khubairat, off Al Karamah Street, Al Mushrif. Training times vary. Contact: 058 510 7277,
info@passabudhabi.com

Martial arts

Youngsters can learn the national sport of the UAE at the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation. Through the training programme, children and teenagers will boost self-confidence, learn discipline, focus and teamwork, and benefit from respect and sportsmanship. Prices and times vary depending on age and level. Zayed Sports City, Saif Ghubash Street. Contact:     02 333 6111, uaejjf.com

Learn the martial arts karate and kobudo with bi-weekly classes at The Oriental Karate and Kobudo Club. Helping little ones to progress through the ranks and achieve different belts, the certified instructors work with children from five to 18 to teach self-discipline, improve self-confidence, develop physical strength and increase focus and agility. AED 320 per month. Locations across Abu Dhabi including Mussafah and Al Khalidiyah. Contact: 02 677 1611, orientalkarate.com

Cricket

Learn one of the world’s most popular sports with Zayed Cricket Academy where you’ll understand the rules of the game in no time. With the choice of personalised or group training, children between ten and 19 can develop their skills in batting, bowling and fielding with guidance from trained coaches. Prices vary depending on age and level. Zayed Cricket Stadium, Khalifa City. Mon and Tue between 5pm and 8pm depending on group. Contact: 02 558 8331, abudhabicricket.ae

Golf

Get in the swing of things with Abu Dhabi City Golf Club’s Junior Academy where children can learn the basics of golf and fine-tune their game before entering monthly tournaments against other talented youngsters. AED 655 per session for eight weeks. Shakhbout bin Sultan Street, Al Mushrif. Times vary. Contact: 02 445 9600, adcitygolf.com

The Troon Junior Club Program at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club is all about having fun and developing a lifelong love of the sport. Little ones can develop their functional movement skills and fundamental golf skills to eventually play a course. Term dates vary. From AED 795 per term for beginner and intermediate level, AED 1,095 for advanced. Saadiyat Island. Times vary according to age. Contact: 050 831 0048, jstander@sbgolfclub.ae

Gymnastics

Children from two to 16 years old can explore their ability with Little Stars Gymnastics Club. Learn rhythmic or artistic gymnastics with a range of apparatus including hoop and rope as well as the floor, vault and rings. Fees and times vary depending on age and experience. Armed Forces Officers Club & Hotel, Al Maqtaa. Contact: 050 781 0635, littlestarsabudhabi.com

Mix it up

At Abu Dhabi Country Club, children can pick from a range of sports including swimming, martial arts, ballet, gymnastics, football, boxing, basketball and taekwondo to keep them busy after school and develop their skills. Prices vary for single classes and full term. Shakhbout Bin Sultan Street, Al Mushrif. Times vary. Contact: 02 657 7765, adcountryclub.com

Children who join the ZSC Academy can have fun playing sports or take training seriously to develop skills in a specific sport under the guidance of certified coaches. With three sports on offer – tennis, ice skating and cycling – children can choose from fundamental and developmental levels up to high performance. Lesson times and fees vary depending on level. Saif Ghubash Street. Contact: 02 403 4200, zsc.ae

WORDS Colin Armstrong

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