Playing youth sports offers children physical, social and psychological benefits according to Project Play. The best part is that your child doesn’t have to be great at a sport to reap the benefits. However, your child will probably want to continue playing as they get older when they discover they can excel in an individual sport.
Not every child is going to be the next Michael Jordan, but that’s ok. Even if your child lacks in athletic prowess, it does not mean they cannot sign up for a less competitive city league or just go out to shoot hoops with their friends. To inspire them, check out these great books for sports loving kids.
The most important thing about getting your child involved in youth sports is to keep it fun and enjoyable for your child. Here is a guide to finding the best sports for your child’s personality.
#1 Youth Sports Promotes Physical Benefits
Children who participate in youth sports develop stronger muscles and bones. Exercise also helps children stay active, so they are less likely to suffer from childhood obesity. Having a healthy weight in childhood sets the foundation for good eating and exercise habits throughout their lifetime.
Participating in youth sports improves cardiovascular endurance which helps keep the heart healthy, and allows your budding athlete to reach their full potential. Click here for a guide on physical activity levels for kids.
#2 Youth Sports Promotes Healthy, Friendly Competition
When playing on a team, respect is the key word. A team consists of other children, coaches, and parents that all need to get along for the success of the team. In youth sports, the athletes learn to respect their coach or coaches and the decisions they make.
Each person on a team has different talents and abilities. Teach your child to recognize the strengths that each player brings to the team so they can begin to appreciate and respect one another’s skills. Friendly, healthy competition pushes each teammate to perform to the best of his or her abilities.
#3 Youth Sports Improves Perseverance
Playing youth sports involves a variety of different situations. There can be both low-pressure and high-pressure moments during games and at practices. When children learn to persevere during challenging times, they quickly learn to adapt, take them in stride, and continue playing.
Parents tend to want to protect their children from disappointment. However, children must learn that in the real world life is not always fair. Moreover, their team will not always win (yes, sometimes they will lose), and some referee calls may seem unjust.
As your children deal with disappointment, it will only make them stronger. They will strive to be the best athlete they can be and learn the importance of perseverance that will give them the critical thinking and coping skills they will need later in life.
#4 Youth Sports Encourages Teamwork Skills
Teamwork is a skill your children are going use throughout their lifetime, so it is imperative to learn the basics early. Youth sports teach children about team dynamics by showing them how everyone works together to achieve their goals. As part of a team, children learn to design a winning strategy by recognizing how their team member’s strengths and weaknesses can benefit the team.
Youth sports provide an excellent learning opportunity as it brings together kids from different cultural and religious backgrounds. Teammates must learn how to work with and accept other cultures so they can work together as a team. Learning how to get along with people with many different personalities and with different cultures is a skill that will be needed when they enter the workforce and will take your child far past their school years.
#5 Youth Sports Builds Character, Boosts Self-Esteem and Teaches Discipline
Kids who participate in youth sports are more likely to be active, hard working students. Youth sports teach kids how to be disciplined during practice, how to focus on the task at hand, and how to persevere when things get tough. Children playing youth sports develop a strong work ethic as they must balance their schoolwork and athletics.
Youth sports are a huge self-esteem booster for kids! Your kids will gain greater confidence by learning about their strengths and capabilities.
Team sports for preadolescent girls are of particular importance. Girls entering adolescence may feel overwhelmed by messages about the importance of their looks and popularity. These messages can take a toll on their self-esteem and even lead to eating disorders. Team sports help build their confidence as they judge their value on more than just their looks.
While it is true that youth sports are becoming increasingly competitive, it is important not to shy away from them for this reason alone. As children grow, they will undoubtedly face competition in school, at work, and in their personal lives, so they must learn how to interact in different environments. Moreover, by allowing your children to participate in youth sports, they will learn that they can achieve great results through good sportsmanship and trying their best.