You’ve heard arguments for and against having your child on a team. We live in a society where every child is a winner and everybody gets a trophy. But there are some great reasons why we think children benefit from team sports. Here are a few of our favorites:
To increase their activity level.
Be honest, your child is probably not getting enough physical activity – none of us are. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends thirty to sixty minutes of moderate intensity exercise five times per week. Do you exercise that much? If you do, chances are your child isn’t like you – they’re not going to go to the gym by themselves and workout. They would much rather do something with their peers.
To develop social skills.
Our increased use of technology means less face to face time with peers. I don’t need to show you a scientific study that says this. We all know it’s true. Playing on a sports team forces your child to be in an environment that isn’t solely composed of friends and family. This is essential because they WILL, at some point in their life, have to interact with people they don’t choose to be around. It’s not comfortable, but neither are many social situations in life.
To develop coordination.
Participating in sports helps to develop coordination. We are really good at coordinating our brains to work with our thumbs and fingers to swipe through our touch screen phones and tablets. We are decreasingly proficient at coordinating our brains to work with our muscles in the rest of our body. My evidence on this is anecdotal, but from my experiences as a strength coach who works with kids, they could use the motor development.
To learn life lessons.
They learn two lessons: how to physically work hard and how to lose. Because our culture and our access to information make it so easy to move on once you find something you aren’t good at, we can continually quit and start something new when things get hard. When we lose at something, we can easily fall into that cycle of quitting. If you let your child do this frequently, they will never become skilled at anything. Sports teams teach kids how to get back up after losing and work hard to improve to eventually become skilled.
To develop self-confidence.
After they’ve won a few times, lost a few times, and worked hard, they will begin to develop confidence in their abilities. They’ve been hanging out with kids they wouldn’t normally interact with, which gives them the confidence they need to talk to someone new. They’ve also increased their activity level, which may cause them to drop a few clothes sizes, and now they feel good about the way they look. Self-confidence is a crucial trait for children.