Five Life Lessons Even Young Children Can Learn From Organized Sports
After school sports programs have so much to offer kids!
Elementary school is the perfect time to get kids involved in after school sports— their interests and curiosity are budding, and they seem to have a limitless amount of energy! Many parents still remain hesitant about allowing their children to compete due to the chance of an injury. While this is a very real concern, we feel that it shouldn’t outweigh the opportunity for kids to be involved in an organized sport.
Another common concern is that kids will encounter overly-competitive coaches or teammates who might either damage their self-esteem– or frighten them away from trying. But the benefits of playing and participating in sports can stay with kids for a lifetime. Which is why we thought it might be helpful to lay out five life lessons that children learn from organized sports.
Kids receive so many benefits from being involved in a team sport– it’s a great way to expose them to important life lessons.
Improves Fitness and Overall Health
One of the main benefits to playing on a sports team is that it improves fitness. Each generation seems to spend more and more time indoors and on phones or tablets. This lack of physical activity has led to a steady increase in childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes, conditions which no parents want for their kids. The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports recommends that kids get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, and sports are a fun and enjoyable way to meet and exceed that number.
When children are exposed at a young age to seeing that physical fitness is a good thing, they are more likely to carry that idea with them throughout their lives. Sports can teach them how to maintain a healthy weight as well as improve coordination and strengthen muscles and bones. Sports programs also can positively affect how children perform academically, as well as socially.
While many people choose to worry about the possibility of a bad coach, why not consider what a good coach and team environment can teach your kid? Teams can only win the game when they work together to achieve a goal, and accomplishing goals boost self-esteem and gives kids confidence that they can do something well. Their self-esteem can increase when they learn about the importance of setting goals and working towards them. This is a great life lesson to learn, and something they will take and apply to academics, employment, and fitness later in life.
After school sports are a great way for kids cultivate good relationships and build friendships.
Encourages Sportsmanship and Teamwork
Playing a team sport is one of the best ways to teach children the importance of teamwork and how working together is the best way to accomplish any goal. Sports are fun way to instill in them that being a part of a team is a great feeling, and helping your teammates achieve goals is one of the best feelings in the world. Team sports offer kids the opportunity to see that only through working together as a team can the win the game or accomplish the goal that they set out to do.
No one wins the game alone in a team sport, and this is an important lesson to teach kids. Everyone has a part to play and can share in the credit and responsibility for winning the game. When their team doesn’t win the game, children need to learn how to lose and to develop good sportsmanship conduct. No one wants to be on a team with a poor loser; kids need to learn that they won’t always win. This is ok too! But learning to lose with a little grace is something even adults can struggle with. Exposure to this at a young age will have major benefits down the road.
Kids learn that teamwork is the best way to accomplish their goals– whether on the field or in the classroom.
Promotes Healthy Competition
Competition should be healthy– it shouldn’t demand and it shouldn’t put so much pressure on kids that they grow to not like the game they’re playing, or their teammates/coach. Parents are rightfully concerned about this. There are problems sometimes when coaches can forget why they’re there in the first place: to teach kids the fundamentals of teamwork.
Kids will experience competition throughout their life; in school, as well as in personal and professional areas. It’s a good idea that they learn how to deal with the pressure that can manifest as a result in a healthy manner. The best advice to children is to always give it your best shot; as long as you try your best, that’s really all that matters. You will win some and you will lose some, but learning how to deal with both of those outcomes is something that sports can teach kids a lot about.
Cultivates Lifelong Relationships
Sports are a great way for kids to get out there and meet some new friends. You never know, they might meet their next best friend on their sports team! Sometimes kids are a little shy to be thrown into a new environment with unfamiliar faces. It can be daunting, but once they get in and start learning that the kids on the team are just like them– they’ll be making friends in no time.
Team sports are a good introduction to developing healthy social skills as well. Here they are on a team with all kinds of different people and personalities, learning how to deal with a diverse set of characteristics will help them foster relationships in the future. Some lifelong friends are met on elementary or youth sports teams; it’s a great way for kids to connect to other kids their age who are interested in the same things as them.
If you’re considering after school program ideas, why not pick up a few team sports such as soccer, baseball/softball, or basketball? Sports have a unique way of teaching some of life’s most important lessons in an easy going and fun manner. Kids get many benefits out of what they teach them, so give them the opportunity to experience it!
Allan Flott is a former collegiate and professional soccer player who believes in the powerful role that sports play in helping children develop confidence and a strong sense of self. After his playing career, he applied his passion for youth sports to coaching children’s soccer, but was unsatisfied with the early education programming he encountered and wanted to create something better. So in 2016, he launched The Players Sports Academy to provide “service through sports” by creating healthy, fun and organized sports programs for kids.