If all kids would play sports, the world might just be a smoother, kinder, harder-working and safer place to play and live. Playing sports during youth teaches valuable life lessons and instills important ethics such as teamwork, communication, leadership, dedication and the health benefits of partaking in regular physical exercise.
Read on to learn more about the reason to encourage your kids to keep playing sports.
1. Physical Health
As children run, play, jump and work together in sport, their physical health leaps into optimal shape. Whether your kids are actively buzzing around or sitting shyly on the sidelines, encourage them to join the game.
Activity outside of PE class at school revs up metabolism, which supports the physical and mental development and health. It’s much easier to convince your kids to head out onto the field with their friends and peers than it is to require timed exercise drills and workouts that most adults adapt their lives to accommodate, and sports are one of the most natural ways to get more play time.
Your kids will run around, improving endurance and stamina that they’ll need as they get older and take on more challenging activities and lifestyles. The jumping and running is an amazing aerobic activity that so many parents are wishing they had more of all the time.
Along with the many other benefits listed in the article, playing sports is ideal for keeping kids from falling into the overweight or obese category, maintaining a healthy physical form, and preparing the body for higher intensity sports performance down the road.
Communication is key on the field during games, so teammates are encouraged to communicate freely with one another off the field, during practice or outside of play time. Sports communication is incredibly positive: kids encourage one another, express what they need to make a play for the greater good of the team, express fear of challenges that appear outside their skill-set and easily let their coach know when they’re ready for harder drills or more responsibility.
This type of communication is useful in the classroom, at home with siblings parents, in teenage social settings, and throughout a child’s future career path. Instill natural positive and constructive communication skills in your children by having them in team sports.
Sports are a clear-cut way to give kids self-esteem. Consider the many affirmations and confidence boosts that are taking place on and off the field during sports: high-fives, chants, name cheering, singing, celebrating and shouting for victory. Off the field, coaches are implementing encouraging words of wisdom and running drills that strengthen kids’ physical capacities so they feel the benefits of growing stronger and thus, performing at a higher level.
Sports also give children an opportunity to generate their own ongoing encouragement. As teammates pat each other on the back and offer kind words after good plays and bad, kids make internal reminders that it is okay to miss a play and to mess up.
Knowing how to pick yourself up off the ground after small mistakes is a game changer as life inevitably throws us curveballs and things don’t always unfold according to plan. Learning that it is okay to mess up and keep going, keep playing is a beautiful lesson that sports teach kids.
No matter which roles your children take on a sports team, they will be exposed to leadership dynamics and opportunities. Leadership is an important skill to hone in at a young age and can help pave a path toward assuming leadership roles in group projects, class settings, friend dynamics and in future careers.
Even if your children aren’t up for being team captains, they’ll learn how others roles on the team help lead the group to victory. For example, your child might assume a supportive role, leading team cheers and encouraging fellow players to do their best or reminding them they’ve tried their hardest for the day. At a young age, a child in this type of role can observe the impact that positive affirmations make and how this type of team spirit leadership is essential to success and having fun.
Watching leader dynamics is equally important for children playing sports. This exposure takes place both as peers rise to the occasion on teams and as coaches lead a healthy example of what it means to be in charge. Children are so observant in their youth, and they can learn an abundance of social character just by playing on a team where leadership roles are in place.
At a young age, sports teaches kids how much progress and prosperity can come from dedication. This type of dedicated effort can be repeated as a child grows and matures and hopefully produce even greater accomplishments and self-encouragement.
6. Respect for Rules
By no means does your child have to grow into a stringent rule follower, but sports shows the beauty of having rules in place. As children age out of youth, they inevitably catch a glimpse of the randomness that upholds many rules, but having been exposed to lines, sides, goals, and rules of play in sports, a young adult can better understand that these rules were put into a place for a reason.
Rules of play and team dynamics introduce kids to social and societal constructs, where they learn to respect not only the rules in place but everyone involved around the rules: referees, opponents, coaches, teammates, supporters and fans. Understanding the art of strategy and rules at a young age with help your child see the beauty of structure as life unfolds into a bigger picture going forward.
In absolutely any setting, teamwork is an invaluable skill to possess! If someone is particularly difficult in adult group contexts, you can likely discover that this individual did not play group sports as a child.
Playing on a team at a young instills important values such as sharing, taking turns, working together, respecting one another and working hard individually to achieve a goal that is only possible with a team.
Children who play group sports are better adapted to social situations, excel in group projects, feel comfortable taking on new challenges and are best suited for many career paths after school. Employers take well to students who have experience with team sports because the company can count on this individual to work well with the existing team and under the direction of a team leader.
8. Energy Release
One of the greatest parts of working out is getting all that pent-up energy out of your system, and it is no different with kids playing sports. Whether your child is frustrated at home, hyperactive in school or inexplicably angry, sports are an undeniably effective way to let them run it out. Physical exercise and mental determination healthy fuel energy through and out the body.
You can almost always bet on your irritable little ones returning from practice with soft eyes and happy smiles. Sports are an awesome go-to for channeling extra energy out in a healthy way.
9. Staying out of Trouble
When your kids play sports, there is no leeway for getting into trouble. During the young, middle and teen ages, sports require kids to stay away from alcohol and drugs, to stick to a schedule and routine, to remain accountable to teammates, to work out, and to perform well in school.
Staying out of trouble becomes especially important in the teenage years, where kids are highly impressionable and their future paths begin taking shape. Some kids respond best to the rules placed by coaches, clubs or school standards for athletes. Others stay out of trouble in teenage years because they’re simply too tired to attend a party after practice or because they need optimal energy for tomorrow’s long run or big game. Keeping on a straight path is a great reason to keep your kids in sports.
10. Learning to Lose
Learning to lose early on and still see the bigger picture and benefits of having fun and working together is a huge life skill and frankly, a gift to give your kids by putting them in sports while they are young. Sore losers ultimately only hurt themselves, which is why practicing good sportsmanship and acceptance is so valuable at a young age.
As your child advances through sports, you might consider which coaching mentalities you prefer to expose your kids to, including the expectations of winning and perceptions of losing.
11. Sports Friends
It’s okay to have several groups of friends and many types of friends. Playing sports introduces your kids to more peers and types of people who can become lifelong friends or serve the role of showing diverse friend dynamics. Kids who play team sports tend to be friendly, accepting, caring and well-rounded in many friend groups as adults.
12. Time Management
At a young age, kids who play sports must learn to prioritize their time between school, play, practice, homework, friends, family and leisure time. Sports creates a structure to follow throughout the day, often building the days and weeks around practice and game schedules.
Learning to manage time might sound like a lofty endeavor for young children, but it is never to early to learn. Adopting time management young keeps kids accountable to themselves, to teams, school, employers, friends, family, and significant others in the future.
Scheduling time for practice consistently after school help kids learn self-discipline, showing up even when they are tired or don’t feel like it. After warm-up and a few drills, an activated metabolism gives your child a boost of energy that they’ll learn they can self-generate in older age, as well.
The discipline of sports comes with many advantages including higher sports performance, self-worth, and confidence. Learning the benefits of staying disciplined (even when it gets tough!) will be insurmountable to any challenges your children face as they grow. Their discipline can get them through anything!