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Wednesday, 10 April 2013 13:02

Benefits of Youth Sports

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Just being physically active in anything can help in the fight against obesity and plays a crucial role in decreasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, premature death and other ailments. However, youth sports has some added benefits other than just keeping our children healthy and fit.

Youth Sports can help in forming a child's core life values and skills at an early age and is one of the most significant impacts of youth sports participation. Those core values and skills can often impact their future success as an adult and can help in shaping the future of our community as they become an active part of the community and local workforce.

Below we explain how youth sports can benefit just several of the many areas of our children's lives:

 

Commitment

The commitment to something difficult gives young athletes a greater opportunity to develop their sense of determination, will, character, and other inner strengths so necessary for success.

When athletes commit to a demanding sport that asks so much of their time and energy, they place themselves in a position of risk. Somewhere along the way they are going to fail. There is always the potential for humiliation, rejection, pain, hurt, disappointment. But in a supportive atmosphere – created by a coach, parents, teammates and friends – surviving the failure becomes a valuable life experience.

Discipline

Whether participating on a team or in a more individualized sport like golf or tennis, a child will make a number of mistakes when they first begin training. Being able to learn from their mistakes, correct them and make improvements are key concepts towards instilling discipline in them. 

As they develop self-discipline and learn to overcome both physical and mental obstacles, this will improve their opportunity for success. It will also provide them with a better state of mind to handle obstacles in life.

Work Ethic

When children play a sport, they learn that they get better by working at it, and the harder they work, the better they get. This is an important lesson that can translate into all aspects of life. Sports can help children develop a strong work ethic that they can apply to everything they do.

Teamwork

Being part of team can be one of the most rewarding experiences that a child experiences. Establishing friendships, learning new skills and having fun can be the cornerstones of a successful team experience for them and they will carry that with them thoughout their life.

Time Management

When your child has their time occupied by something they enjoy doing, it has a direct ripple effect. In addition to keeping up with their studies and family activities, participating in sports gives them the direct benefit of being forced to manage their time and not be a couch potato. 

According to Paul Caccamo, the Harvard-educated executive director of Up2Us, a national coalition of community sports programs that teaches young athletes life lessons, “Sports are more than a game; they are a set of life lessons. Kids who participate in sports attend school more, are more community and civic minded, get in less trouble, and tend to be more successful in the workplace.”

Communication

Listening to your parents is one of the first skills that you may have been exposed to growing up. When there is the additional influence of a coach or sports captain's voice, it can have a profound influence on a child.

In addition to communicating with the coach or manager, communication with teammates in practice, competition and outside the fields and courts can better equip a child for future situations where he is forced to communicate effectively. Without the extra benefit of sports participation, this skill may not get developed as quickly.

Leadership

Perhaps a child is a vocal leader who is always encouraging his teammates at practice and in competition, or he leads more by example through his sportsmanship, maximum effort in practice everyday and competitive spirit in games. Either way, both styles of leadership can have a dramatic impact.

Even if a child is not a natural leader, being exposed to these qualities in a structured environment can give him important tools as he forms his leadership style for life situations.

Physical Fitness

When a child is having fun and is committed to a sport they enjoy, it gives them a sense of accomplishment. In addition to the added benefits of instilling core values, their physical conditioning develops their body and promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Results from the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, using measured heights and weights, indicate that an estimated 17 percent of children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 are obese. Of those who participated in sports, the number dropped by more than half.

Skill Building

When a youngster participates on a team and plays a sport like baseball, soccer, softball or football, he goes to practice regularly and works on the skills needed to play the game. With instruction from competent and qualified coaches, the child gets better at his chosen sport. That helps him become a better and more successful player, but it also helps improve his confidence level.

Read 3626 times Last modified on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 14:20