If you are a sports parent and have been reading my website for awhile, you know that I’m a firm believer that youth sports teaches kids lessons they will carry with them for life, if coaches and parents provide positive leadership that takes full advantage of the opportunity for character growth.
But youth sports can take a lot out of you as a sports parent: high costs, demands on time, emotional energy–sports parents make big sacrifices for their young athletes and many may wonder if the effort is really worth it, particularly if it doesn’t earn their child a full scholarship to college.
Let’s just forget the college scholarship for a few minutes and focus on the NOW. If you’ve ever doubted that your sacrifice was really worth it, I’d like to put a stop to those doubts once and for all. The list of benefits of youth sports is even longer than I’d thought.
A 2012 report called True Sport Report, put out by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, cites a long list of advantages for playing sports. Here are a few from the 106-page report:
- better classroom performance
- greater personal confidence and self-esteem
- stronger peer relationships
- more restraint in avoiding risky behavior
- more academically oriented friends
- more likely to make friends, including those of different races
- greater family attachment and more frequent interactions with parents
- greater connections with school—that is, greater attachment and support from adults
- exercise improves moods and alleviates many forms of depression
- girls and young women engaged in sports are less likely to be overweight or obese, depressed, smoke, use illicit drugs, or have unwanted teen pregnancies
- better able to acquire emotional control, learn the value of teamwork, and exhibit initiative
women who played sports in high school were 73% more likely to earn a college degree within six years of graduating high school than those who did not play (based on a 2007 study)
- greater involvement in volunteer work
- fights childhood obesity
- Children who are physically active are more likely to stay active as teens and adults
So, see there, Mom and Dad. Your sacrifice of time, money, and energy is well worth it. Provide opportunities and encourage your kids to play as long as possible!
Let just say here that if money is your biggest issue, I totally get it. There were times when we had to say no to some things our kids wanted to do and there were times when we probably spent more money than we should have. But there are so many fundraising options today to help parents raise money and one of my favorites is Flipgive. It’s an easy and efficient way to raise money for your child’s team WHILE doing some oneline shopping. Raising that money means you pay less for your child to play. Check them out. I’m an affiliate for them because I think it’s a great idea!
(A Note to Non-Sportsparents)
If your child doesn’t play sports, that’s okay. But what’s not okay is for your child to not exercise and stay active. Put your foot down and limit computer time, video game time, and tv time. Make them get moving!