Did you play team sports in your youth? Are you or your child considering joining a team? Or, perhaps you are on the fence and unsure whether sports are for your family. While some of the benefits of team sports for children might be obvious, there may be some you’re not aware of. Take a look at some of the top reasons to stick with youth sports.
1. Team sports help develop social skills.
From the youngest tee-ball league to competitive high school sports, social interaction is part of the game. Although the 4-year-old soccer team might appear to be all chasing the ball at the same time, they are learning to interact with kids their age on a whole new playing field – pun intended.
2. Being part of a team helps build confidence.
When an individual succeeds, the team succeeds, and vice versa. Being part of a team gives many chances to build the confidence a child needs to know success and believe that they are a key to that success.
3. Active participation in sports can help kids maintain a healthy weight.
Young people who participate in physical activity are more likely to maintain physical fitness, healthy body weight and continue exercising as adults (American Council on Exercise via MSU.edu)
4. Participating in sports prepares kids for the “real world”.
Being part of a team comes with a sense of responsibility. If you’re not at your best, your team won’t be their best. This prepares players for the real world as they transition into becoming members of society.
5. Exercising is a great stress reducer.
Most sports involve some degree of exercise, which has many health benefits to people. Exercising causes the body to release endorphins, chemicals that relieve pain and stress. It can also make people feel calmer (WebMD).
6. Losing helps kids accept occasional defeat.
No matter what type of bubble you put your kids in, nothing can protect them from life’s little losses. Trust us, we’ve tried. Losing a game or missing a shot helps teach kids that sometimes, life doesn’t go your way, and that’s okay.
7. Sports teach kids determination.
Early on, and even more so in more competitive, upper-level leagues, kids need to “want it” to keep their skills up and make the team.
8. And help them maintain discipline.
Your child needs to have a little discipline to follow the rules of the game and listen to officials and coaches. At the same time, it takes discipline to go to practice instead of that ice cream social.
9. Participation in sports can keep kids out of major trouble.
Of course, this doesn’t mean every kid will be an angel, but studies have shown that sports participation is associated with decreased drug use (PubMed.gov). It makes sense, that every minute on the playing field is one less minute that a child could get into something they shouldn’t.
10. And is linked to a decrease in screen time.
Teens who take part in extracurricular activities such as sports are less likely to engage in screen-based activities for two or more hours after school (U.S. News).
11. They will have fun.
Although it’s not all fun and games, it certainly is a lot of the time! And it will be great to have fond memories of their sports days as they get older.
12. Sports teams bring families together.
There’s nothing like cheering on the sidelines to bring people together. Being a part of a team is one way for new families to get to know one another. From team dinners at one player’s house to younger siblings playing on the playground at game time, being a part of a team has meaning for the whole family.
13. They will learn new skills.
Excelling at a sport simply requires the player to refine their skills. Practice and repetition lead to better coordination and motor skills development. And, simply put, it’s fun to learn new things.
14. They could play into adulthood.
Adolescents who play sports are eight times as likely to play as they get older. Could that mean your kid might get a college scholarship? Perhaps, but you’ll also enjoy knowing they’re more likely to have the joy that sports bring into their adult years. (AspenProjectPlay.org)
15. They will remember it forever.
The benefits of youth sports are overwhelmingly positive for most young participants. Even for those who tried it and decided it was not for them, it will serve as a learning experience. In either case, participating in team sports is something most people do not forget, and they can relate it to many future life experiences.
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