5 Important Benefits Of Youth Sports And How Grandparents Can Get Involved
From the basketball court to the soccer field, the tennis court to the swimming pool, youth sports are the ultimate classroom. Kids learn the importance of teamwork, sportsmanship, perseverance, respect for authority and rules, and how to win with class and lose with dignity.
Here are five important benefits of youth sports and how grandparents can get involved:
1) Positive Attitudes
“Being involved in athletic experiences isn’t just about winning or losing,” says Dr. Joel Fish, Director of the Center of Sports Psychology, and author of 101 Ways to Be a Terrific Sports Parent: Making Athletics a Positive Experience for Your Child. “It’s about more important things like effort, skill-building and team participation.”
Learning to have a positive outlook on an experience, win or lose, is an important skill kids can apply to other areas of life. Remember that the most elite basketball players are successful around 50% of the time, and the greatest baseball hitters strike out 65 percent of the time.
“These are characteristics we want our children to develop and carry with them the rest of their lives,” “Having a good attitude is something we look for in people that we choose to be friends with or hire to work with us. And it all springs from sports.”
The best coaches do not just teach athletic skills; they use their positive influence to instill healthy habits. Coaches can talk to kids about the importance of staying away from drugs, tobacco, and alcohol and how using those substances can detract from their ability to perform on the field.
Coaches are in a unique position to impact a child for life so it’s important that they take advantage of it and focus on being a positive influence.
3) Dealing with Pressure
Part of being an athlete is learning how to persist through difficult tasks, especially when the going gets tough. “Sports helps kids learn techniques to deal with great pressure,” explains Fish. “These are the same skills that will help your grandchild achieve success in other venues. If you can achieve under pressure in the sports world; if you can learn how to relax, focus, and maintain your confidence, you will be one step closer to achieving success in other pressurized situations like exams and sticky social situations.”
Being part of a sports team helps kids develop crucial social skills. Whether they are listening to other people’s perspectives or placing the needs of the team before their own, young athletes are taught that, for a team to effectively work together, all members must respect each other’s abilities, contributions, and opinions.
Teamwork is not just an integral part of youth sports; kids engage in lots of other activities throughout the day that require group participation. In class they work on projects in pairs. On the playground, joint efforts are necessary for fun. And in the lunchroom, kids participate in conversations around the table.
5) Playing by the Rules
Learning how to play fair is one of the most important lessons kids gain from participating in youth sports. All athletes experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, but when they can win with humility and lose with pride, they leave the field with improved character.
“When kids get involved in team sports from a young age, they are taught to value playing by the rules,” says Fish. “Get them in the habit of being [honorable] on the basketball court, even when it seems hard.”
Everyone experiences the occasional hit or strike, foul or out, throughout life. Playing and living by the rules makes successful citizens, because they make mistakes and learn from them, one inning at a time.
Here’s what my Grandson Reece has to say about his favorite sports!