You ask any young athlete why they enjoy playing sports, you will get answers like; it’s fun, learn new skills, make new friends and feel successful. The benefits of youth sports go much further than this. Sports offer an arena where the children can demonstrate their talents and hone their skills. Participating in sports has been known to be physically, socially, cognitively and psychologically engaging. Children playing sports must work together toward a common goal.
- Fitness: Children develop a high level of fitness that is good for their health, while having fun.
- Stress Relief: When children play sports, it allows them to clear their heads. This stress relief can help students perform better when they are involved in sports.
- Mastering Skills: Children develop their athletic talents while learning that practice improves skills. The idea that practice leads to improvement provides children with a sense of ownership of their successes.
- Healthier Life Choices: The most valuable tool used in sports is that one’s body, because of this, many young athletes refrain from using drugs, drinking alcohol and smoking because they do not want to hard their bodies or their performances.
- Value of Practice and Preparation: Children who participate in sports, show self-discipline and practice yield positive results. Practice also explores alternative ways to do things and achieve better results.
- Resiliency: Being in sports teaches children about losing, disappointment and moving on from negative experiences.
- Controlling Perspectives: An athlete will learn to be confident in themselves and their abilities.
- Leadership: Athletes could serve as leaders of their peers, which in turn teaches them valuable skills for the future.
- Identity: Children who play sports learn to both identify with the team and to also establish a personal identity.
- Time Management: Sports are time consuming, young athletes must learn to balance them with school priorities and family commitments. In turn, this can help children better able to prioritize their own lives.
- Establish Relationships: Young athletes learn to form strong bonds with others as they compete and train with one another.
- Teamwork: Children learn that cooperation with other is the key to achieving goals. Children also lean to put aside differences and work together to achieve a common goal.
- Diversity: The sporting world is a wonderful place to engage with people from different backgrounds and cultures.
- Relationships with Adults: When young athletes engage with coaches and teammates’ parents it allows the athletes to develop social skills in meeting and talking to adults.
- Part of the Community: Often sports teams are the central part of the community. Being part of a team allows young athletes to be active members of the community at an early age.
Benefits for Females
The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports states that young female athletes benefit from playing sports because it helps increase self-esteem and confidence, leads to a healthy body image and reduces the risk of chronic diseases. Playing sports as a young female may also allow them to do better in school. Girls are less likely to smoke and become pregnant compared to those who do not participate in sports.
Maintaining a Balanced Life
With all the benefits of sports on a young athlete’s life, there are some drawbacks that parents should be aware of:
- Your child developing a “win at all costs” mentality
- Playing sports taking over as the number one thing in your child’s life
- Your child feeling so much pressure to perform well that they neglect injuries and other priorities
- You child could develop a negative attitude towards non-athletic peers and opponents
When you think back on your own experiences when you played youth sports; think about all the benefits you received. Frimark/Keller & Associates would recommend that each child should be given the opportunity to participate in youth sports.