Youth sports have a long-lasting impact on a child’s mind and body. Physical, mental, and social benefits of playing youth sports can last well into adulthood. Sports help to discipline a child’s mind, giving them less risk of mental disorders and problem behaviors. They also lead to better physical health outcomes for children across their entire lifetimes.
Brett Balick, a university graduate in the field of data analytics, presents the benefits of youth sports for children and teens.
Children who play a sport have health advantages over children who are sedentary. They have lower body fat and better cardiovascular fitness. They are also less likely to become overweight or obese later in life.
A positive fitness habit gives a child a base to build on for the rest of his or her life. Being in the habit of vigorous exercise makes it more likely that a child will continue to be active well into adulthood.
Mental Health Benefits
The effects of youth sports last far beyond the activity itself. Children who play sports are less likely to use drugs and alcohol as teens. They are also less prone to mental disorders like anxiety and depression.
Sports produces endorphins in the body. Endorphins are mood-boosting chemicals that give children positive feelings about continuing in the sport. Playing a sport helps to burn off negative feelings and emotions.
When a child plays a sport, he or she needs to learn to be part of a team. Teamwork is a skill that can be difficult to foster in adults. Children need to learn to lead and to follow someone else’s guidance. Collaboration to reach a particular goal is an important part of playing a sport.
A child who plays a sport will learn how to take advantage of everyone’s skills to have the best-combined outcome. Children need to understand their own part in the whole, and the skills they have that will make the team successful.
Working with Adults
A coach can be a positive role model in a child’s life. Learning to take direction from an adult other than parents and teachers broadens a child’s experience. Coaches can be a special part of a child’s upbringing, instilling important values. Coaches have a different perspective on a child’s strengths and weaknesses, encouraging them to be their best selves.
Children also need to learn to respect the calls made by the umpire or referee. Playing by the rules of the game is a life skill that will apply to many other areas.
Win or Lose
Team sports provide children with an important opportunity to learn to be a good winner as well as a good loser. Children should learn that when they win, they can’t be too overbearing toward the competition. Winning gracefully is as much of a life skill as losing gracefully.
When a child’s team loses, they need to learn that they did their best and should be proud of their efforts even if they were not reflected in the score of the game.
Playing a sport affects a child’s critical thinking skills. For example, a young football quarterback learns to call plays and to place each one of his teammates to their best advantage. Children who have a good sense of strategy can apply this skill in many other areas of their lives.
With this impressive list of benefits, it stands to reason that many parents encourage their children to participate in sports for at least part of the year. However, it is important that young athletes take some time off from their preferred sport to reduce the chances of repetitive motion injuries.
Brett Balick encourages children to play youth sports. Parents of young athletes can be assured that they have made a positive lifestyle choice that will impact their children for years to come.