By: Kim Mishler, Newton Park
Team sports are a great way for kids to explore and develop essential life-long skills. While playing sports on a team helps children improve their health, they learn valuable lessons that influence their adult life.
Here are 12 benefits of team sports:
1. Life Isn’t Always Fair
A tough lesson at any age. Whether it be referees making a game-changing call or uneven playing time, learning to not argue and complain when things are out of personal control is an important life lesson. Sometimes no matter how hard people work, unfortunate things happen (like a heart-breaking season) and the only choice is to move forward, follow the plan, and work hard to recover.
2. Character & Teamwork Skills
Teamwork is essential to being successful in life. Kids can learn the basics at a young age through team sports with social interactions and working together to achieve goals. Being part of a team also allows children to figure out their strengths and weaknesses.
3. Increased Self-Esteem
Being part of a team is an incredible way to connect with others while working towards a common goal. Children learn how to give and receive praise from others like team members, coaches, and other parents. Contributing to a team in any capacity ultimately boosts a child’s self-esteem and confidence.
4. Strong Relationships
Teams spend hours together whether it be on the sidelines or on the field. This bonding time together builds strong camaraderie and support with team members and parents. Collectively, everyone wants the players (in turn the team) to succeed and rally together to support each other on and off the field.
5. Hard Work Pays Off
Nothing worth having comes easy. While talent plays a role in early years, hard workers rise to the top. Practicing a skill can be tedious and mastering it takes intense focus and work. Kids who play team sports learn to set goals and follow a path to success. Hard work creates confidence which generates results that boost self-esteem for future accomplishments.
6. Critical Thinking Skills
Every game situation is different. Opponents, strengths, and tactics all need to be taken into consideration every time an athlete competes. Team sports prepare children for intense critical thinking while challenges in life require critical thinking to overcome challenges and obstacles.
7. Kids Should Play Multiple Sports
It is healthy for kids to be challenged and humbled when it comes to learning something that does not come easily to them. Different sports require different levels of skill, focus, and endurance. Working with many different coaches and coaching styles teaches children to work and respect different personalities and practice skills related to sports and life.
7. Accepting Defeat
It never feels good to lose and let’s face it – no one likes like a sore loser. Learning to lose with grace and dignity is an important skill to carry into adulthood. Good coaches teach athletes the ability to learn from each loss and failure and to show good sportsmanship despite an unfavorable outcome.
Young athletes are put in tough situations during games and practices and have to recognize the problem quickly in order to work through them. Practicing perseverance with safe pressure leads to better coping skills when faced with challenges at school and at home. By playing team sports, kids get comfortable with high pressure situations they will experience late in life like public speaking or deadlines.
9. Controlling Emotions
Sports can be super frustrating. Players often experience games where they cannot score or feel like officials are treating their team unfairly. Learning to control feelings of frustration and anger while constructively channeling negative emotions helps children in all aspects of life.
10. Leadership Skills
When given opportunities to lead, players are forced to step up and become more confident in themselves and while leading others. This can be as simple as allowing different players to lead warm-ups before practice or rotating the captain of each game. Developing leadership skills supports kids throughout their entire life.
Team sports require kids to have discipline tactically, mentally, and physically. Children learn self-restraint and how to control their behavior during stressful situations. Studies show children who participate in sports are less likely to drop out of school or become involved in drugs and alcohol. Practicing strong discipline helps children learn to achieve their goals and reach their full potential.
Each child on a team has their own skills and characteristics. Coaches typically put players in positions to support their ability and help the team be successful. This teaches kids how to collaborate as part of a group and work towards something that cannot be done alone – and at times be selfless.
Newton Park hosts affordable youth soccer, baseball, softball, and tee-ball leagues organized by LaVille Youth Sports to help safely prepare children both physically and mentally to be better citizens of their community through team sports.