The Benefits of Sports and Athletic Team Activities for Children
Why should children play sports? Having a child involved in a competitive sport can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor, but, if you are considering enrollment as an option for your child, there are a number of benefits to make the investment of time and money worthwhile.
Fitness and Flexibility
Children who engage in competitive sports have an outlet for their energy. No matter which sport is played, between practices, drills, and opponent games there are plenty of atheletic opportunities for children to burn that reserve of natural energy while having fun.
Sports like soccer, football, hockey, and baseball provide valuable leg and core muscle group development and are wonderful for aerobic workouts. Upper arm strength, balance, visual and hand-eye acuity skills are also developed in children who engage in competitive sports. The demands of keeping up to a team schedule help children exceed the amount of required exercise each week, maintain healthy weight, and improve physical skills and strengths.
Learning to be a “team player” comes from exposing children to positive cooperative activities such as sports. Coaches and parents can support children by instilling in the team values and behaviors that will benefit children in all aspects of their life—from academic performance to career strengths as an adult in the future.
On a sports team, children learn to be one part of a greater group, working together to achieve a common goal. The core values of cooperation, sharing, friendship, determination, and leadership are an essential part of healthy social development for kids. It’s no wonder that many of our country’s top leaders got their start on the playing field.
Making the Grade
It is also no surprise that children who engage in team sports become performance-orientated when it comes to other non-sports related tasks. Time management skills, cooperation, organization, and personal accountability, coupled with a desire to achieve goals are assets to a child’s success in sports, which will inevitably trickle into their academic life as well. Participating in team sports helps kids become better students by giving them habits and the motivational training to succeed.
Are children healthier when they play sports? Aside from the guaranteed physical fitness that they receive every week as part of a sports team, children are coached on how to improve their fitness and performance. Those tips including ample sleep, eating healthy, and regular exercise and help to model a successful plan for a healthy adult lifestyle.
Sure, some parents may be concerned that team sports include risk of injury, but child development experts argue that taking risks are essential to a child’s growth. There are many kinds of sports and activities to choose from, so help your children decide which one provides the appropriate amount of risk you’re all comfortable taking.
For every child and interest there is a team sport. Consider the immediate as well as the long term benefits of enrolling your child in a competitive sports team. Encourage them to develop a healthy desire to succeed on and off the field.