Sports is life. That’s what a former college professor of mine used to often preach. He’d regularly deliver thoughtful lectures analogizing a sports-related matter to a real-life situation. It was then, after my youth team sports “career” was concluded, that I gave meaningful thought about the real importance of sports; including tangible lessons learned.
While I was growing up, playing sports was everything in my neighborhood and a truly essential part of being a kid. Being active, making new friends, and finding a passion in the game was what it was all about amongst my friends. But it was more than that with respect to organized youth sports; it was a family thing back then. It should be the same now.
So instead of just signing your children up for sports, find time to get active yourself. Not only does it help get you and the kids out of the house for a while, but it’s also a fun and healthy way to create a positive impact on your life and your child’s life.
One of the greatest benefits of getting your family involved with a sport is becoming more active. Physical activity is important at any age, and playing sports is a great way to start. Whether your child is a natural athlete or not, getting them involved and moving is a great way to promote physical activity and exercise. Stressing the importance of exercise at that time plants the early seeds for, hopefully, a lifetime of meaningful physical activity. And while your child is at practice you might be reminded that hitting the gym, joining a local sports team or taking a brisk walk is in order.
One of the greatest benefits of organized sports is the opportunity to learn and develop some leadership skills. Getting your child involved with sports will do exactly that. Although being on a sports team requires a lot of teamwork, it also takes a lot of leadership skills. These are developed over time, but through taking on responsibility and learning the importance of sportsmanship, kids are introduced to numerous leadership opportunities and exposed to a variety of instances, in victory or defeat, that lead to becoming leaders. Adult coaches and mentors play a huge role by helping instill fair play, gracious winning and losing, and assisting their players with finding their role within the team; all the while constructing and guiding the whole team towards achieving a healthy, competitive environment. This inevitably will foster leadership skills and they are life-skills all will be able to take and use in their future endeavors.
Making friends can be tough, even at an adult age. Playing youth sports affords both the players and their parents the opportunity to meet new people, learn about others, and interact on a team basis for a common interest. In short, it is a great way to improve social skills and make new friends. By participating in sports, children develop social skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Parents can also reap the social benefits of participating as good and positive team supporters, connecting with other adults outside of work or their other usual circles.
Sports have also been known to help boost self-esteem and confidence in kids, teens, and adults. Those who participate in sports get encouragement and approval from coaches, teammates, and spectators which builds up confidence. Through sports, participants are also able to better cope with constructive criticism. Getting you and your family involved will help build your family’s emotional, mental, and physical well-being.
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