If you are considering signing your child up for a team sport but have reservations about the investment of your time and money, first consider the many benefits of team sports. Team sports provide the opportunity for your child to be physically active and participate in a regular exercise routine, and team sports also provide a wonderful opportunity for social interaction with others, thereby increasing your child’s self-confidence. Read on for five reasons why your child should get in the game!
1. Team sports encourage a life outside school. “Our middle daughter really struggles academically, but excels in sports,” says Stefanie Eubanks, mother of three. “Sports give her such confidence and they really help her self-esteem tremendously!” Kids can feel like their lives revolve around school and people they interact with while at school. Playing community sports gives them the opportunity to meet people outside of their immediate social circle and gives them the confidence to develop friendships in new situations.
2. Your child becomes part of a team. Working together for a common goal and achieving it helps build a strong bond between teammates. “Team sports help kids identify their place on the team, even if they aren’t the star player. It also teaches compassion and empathy when teammates make mistakes,” says mother Kara Thomas. Kids who are part of a sports team learn to cheer on each other and feel the same support from their teammates during the game. They will also learn sportsmanship, compassion when someone gets hurt, and how to get along with their teammates, even when they don’t like each other. The ability to work as a team is a skill they will use throughout life in school, at work, and even in their family unit.
3. Team sports provide the opportunity to experience praise from coaches and other players. Everyone likes to hear praise for their efforts and hardwork. Receiving praise from coaches and other players as they make improvements is much different than a pat on the back from a parent. Kids who play sports have the opportunity to set goals and celebrate as they meet these goals individually and as a team.
4. Team sports develop an appreciation for diversity. Team sports draw children together from all religions, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Working toward a common goal unifies the group and the differences that may otherwise separate them become less important as the team works together.
5. Team sports builds character. You can’t always be the winner in team sports. Kids learn how to lose gracefully, build good sportsmanship, and they learn how to be empathetic when their teammates make mistakes. “I wanted them to learn how to win graciously, enjoy the victory, lose without losing, how to work together, support their teammates, and build good work ethic, confidence, and leadership skills. And most importantly, I wanted them to know they have a place where they belong,” says Jim Carrier, soccer coach and father of two.
Kids in all levels of sports, competitive or recreational, have the opportunity to gain priceless benefits that will last them a lifetime.
Sarah is a wife, and a mother of six children.
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