August 05, 2021
When you drop your kids off at the local soccer field or baseball diamond, you know it’s good for them — an afternoon running around outside is good exercise. But the benefits of youth sports only begin with fitness. The time your kids spend playing sports can also help them become better students, better friends, and prepares them for a lifetime of growth.
Are you looking for another reason to enroll your kids in a program next season? Here are all the benefits you can expect:
The physical benefits of youth sports are the most obvious — it’s exercise! But aside from the cardiovascular and other physical health impacts of sports, you can also expect the following areas of improvement for your child:
• Motor skills: All sports require some level of coordination, balance, and other fine motor skills.
• Eyesight: Kids who play sports develop better visual acuity to see and track the activity in a game or practice.
• Weight control: Childhood obesity is increasing, but kids who play sports are able to better control their weight through activity.
• Nutrition: Performance requires eating right, and youth sports expose kids to the importance of proper nutrition early in life.
You often hear commentators during professional sports matches praise the mental elements of a player’s game. Even if your kid isn’t destined for the big leagues, there are significant mental benefits that come from sports:
• Stress reduction: Exercise helps reduce and manage stress, which is especially important for kids learning to manage schoolwork and demands at home.
• Strategic thinking: Learning the rules of a game, how to play it, and how to compete against an opponent can help in the development of critical thinking skills.
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• Self-confidence: Kids’ victories in youth sports or their personal achievements and recognition can help them face other challenges in life.
• Body image: An active youth athlete may feel better about their self-image and the state of their body.
Finally, a child involved in sports can expect to realize the growth that comes from being around other youth working together as a team:
• Sportsmanship: Team sports teach kids how to work together, understand the strengths of others, celebrate success, and congratulate victors.
• Coaching: Receiving coaching and instruction can help kids learn from others and develop relationships with adults.
• Responsibility: Being at practice, making games, and managing other commitments can help teach kids how to be responsible.
• Leadership: Whether they’re a team captain or not, athletes learn about how to lead teams and their peers and can put it into practice across their lives.
With all of these great benefits, it’s no surprise youth sports are so popular. Encourage your kids to find a sport they enjoy and a team they like in a league that you feel is well-run — and then encourage them to get out on the field and do the best that they can!