There are so many benefits of playing sports for our kids. Not only does it teach them to be physically fit, but it teaches them so much more!
Benefits of Playing Sports for Our Kids
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Ever since our kids were 4 years old they have loved to play sports. When they first started playing sports it started with T-ball and soccer. Over the years the kids have tried a variety of sports which include soccer, baseball, football, basketball, and gymnastics. Each one of these sports has benefited them in many different ways!
When we allow our kids to play sports it teaches them skills they carry with them for their entire life. Not only that, but it helps them develop physically. Certainly, our lives can become crazy driving kids around to all their different practices and games, but the benefits far outweigh the craziness.
Here are the researched benefits of playing sports for kids and why all kids should play youth sports!
Sports provide opportunities to unplug and get outside and start moving. My kids will spend hours staring at a screen if I let them. So sports give them the opportunity to get up and get moving on a regular basis. With most sports having at least 1 practice a week as well as a game it provides opportunities for physical exercise.
Being active and exercising promotes kids to live a more healthy lifestyle and helps fight obesity. It increases stamina as they become more physically fit and build strength.
Through sports, kids learn to interact with others, even adults. They learn to be leaders as well as rely on others for help. Sports encourages kids to communicate effectively. Not only this, but playing sports builds confidence in kids. Building confidence is easy as cheering for a great hit or a high five and a “great job” after the game!
Sports help with motor skills. Kids are able to develop coordination as they learn new skills. Not only are these great benefits, but kids are less likely to develop vision problems when they play sports.
There are many life skills your child will learn as you involve them in sports. First and foremost, they will learn patience. As they learn a sport they will need to be patient with themselves as they learn how to play it. They will need to learn to be patient with others as they make mistakes.
Sports teach kids to be less selfish. It teaches them it is about the team, not the individual. Sports teach them to look for the best man for the job. This includes passing it to a teammate when they are wide open standing next to the goal. It’s all about finding the best man for the job.
Another benefit is learning to be resilient. There are highs and lows when it comes to sports. Many times there are many more losses than wins, but sports teach kids to get back out there and try again! So, when life knocks them down, later on, they will get right back out there are try again.
Kids learn to deal with stress on the field. Your child is up to bat, there are 2 strikes and 2 outs with the bases loaded. This is a high-pressure situation. But in these situations is when your child learns how to cope with stress. When your child is under stress off the field they will know what to do because they have coped with stress many times before.
Self Esteem develops as kids play sports. Through praise and encouragement, kids build their self-esteem. By praising kids they also learn to push themselves to new levels!
Sports take time and commitment. Kids need to put time and effort in if they want to be successful. By doing this, it teaches kids dedication. It teaches them to be dedicated with all things they do in life.
Another life skill that develops through sports is on the spot thinking. So many times in sports kids need to make quick decisions. Do they steal the base? What pitch do I throw? Do I try to shoot it or wait for someone to foul them? All these situations teach them to think on their feet. When they face challenges in life they can use this skill to quickly evaluate a situation and determine what to do when need be.
Respect is a great lesson that kids while competing! They learn to respect those who are in charge. Umpires and refs sometimes make terrible calls, but regardless of what the call is kids need to be respectful. Kids also learn to respect other adult figures like coaches. Sometimes coaches bench you for missing practice or for having too many fouls. Kids learn to not talk back and live with the decision that is made. Not only that kids learn to be respectful of their peers. Learning respect on the court translates into respect at home, in the classroom and in the workplace late in life.
Learn to Follow the Rules
Sports help kids learn to follow rules. Kids learn how to follow rules. Yes, they can learn to follow rules other places, but learning them in sports settings help them understand quickly when rules are broken there are consequences. This translates into life and kids follow rules much quicker when they are introduced to this concept in sports.
Not Give Up
Life is hard and at times even us as adults wish we can give up. But as kids play sports they learn to not give up. They push through adversity to reach the goal they have set out to do.
Chase at the beginning of football season hated it. He would not try and he would give half effort. We told him that regardless of how he felt his team needed him and if at the end of the season he didn’t want to play again that was fine. He didn’t give up. You know what else? He tried his best and enjoyed it. Not enough to play again, but it taught him that he can do hard things! When kids don’t give up in sports it teaches them to push through adversities in other aspects of their life.
Play Hard, Win Gracefully and Lose With Dignity
Competition is great for kids. It teaches them to compete in real-world situations and be competitive. After the competition though kids need to learn to win gracefully and lose with dignity. Losing is hard on anyone, but especially hard on kids. One of the biggest lessons sports teach kids is to lose with dignity. This means not hanging your head and having a sour face because you didn’t win. It especially means not blaming others for the loss. Sure losing is hard and no one likes doing it, but it teaches you to practice more and try harder the next time you compete.
Sports teach kids how to win gracefully. Sure celebrating is needed when you win, but kids need to learn to win with grace. This means no hooping and hollering in the other teams’ faces. When you win congratulate the other team with a job well done. Simple high fives and “good jobs” will do. Winning gracefully teaches humility and compassion.
Kids learn the value of working together for a common goal! They learn this very early when they play sports. Kids learn that there is no “I” in team and it takes everyone working together. In baseball one man can’t win a game, not even the pitcher, he relies on the catcher to catch all his pitches and he relies on the rest of his teammates to field the ball after it is hit. Kids learn that as they work together they can be successful!
Sports teach kids sportsmanship. This includes playing fair, following the rules, and treating others with respect. When you have good sportsmanship you can be a positive influence on all of those around you on and off the field. When you learn to be a good sport on the field it translates off the field as well. It allows you to commend others for a job well done on school projects as well as in the workplace. Learning sportsmanship early will be an asset to your child’s life.
It is proven that kids that participate in sports have greater academic success and excel in school. This is because kids learn skills such as determination and working hard on the field. They then transfer these valuable skills into the classroom. Kids that play sports are less likely to drop out of school as well.
One of the benefits of playing sports for kids is it helps them manage their time. It teaches them how to study and get chores done in between practices and games. It teaches them to organize their time and plan ahead to make sure they get where they need to be on time!
Natural Stress Reliever
Sports are a great way to forget about what is happening in their life and just play hard. So often the boys will be stressed about something on the way to practice. As soon as we get there, they are focused on practice. They are able to loosen up and let go of the daily stresses happening in their lives. By the time practice is over the stressor is no longer a concern to them.
Develop Lifelong Friendships
Sports bring kids together that have common interests. These common interests lead to other things they have in common. This then turns into lifelong friendships.
Colby plays on a select baseball team. He doesn’t go to school with a single one of them, but through sports, he has 11 other friends that he will have the opportunity to be friends with that he wouldn’t have if it weren’t for sports. Sports expand your social circle and help you develop lifelong friends.
When it comes to picking sports for your kids to play, just remember, there are a variety of sports they can play. They range from individual sports like tennis to taekwondo or team sports like football and soccer. Whatever the sport your child chooses, the benefits of playing sports far outweigh the crazy schedule!
Do you agree with these benefits of playing sports for kids? Pin them on Pinterest for others!
Michele is a Family Life Educator. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!