Perhaps we’re preaching to the choir here, but we wanted to take a look at the effects and benefits of youth sports on a developing child in general. We already looked at the affect youth sports have young girls, which you can read HERE. A lot of those same principals will carry over to this article, but there are some nuances to discuss.
To start, by playing sports, your son or daughter will learn to be part of a much broader team. They must cooperate with each other to achieve a common goal. Developing teamwork skills is a fundamental part of finding success in society. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that sports teach children how to follow established rules for the good of everyone.
Youth sports also teach children to develop long-term goals and commitments, which can build character and drive in a young child. Children come together with a common goal and commit to each other to play for a season and try their best to win. This mentality can be applied to their school work, creative pursuit, or other endeavours. It is also a fundamental skill that will be useful in their future careers, businesses, or relationships.
Participating in youth sports will likely be the first time your child will be exposed to both winning and losing. It will be an opportunity to teach your child how to humbly accept a victory or graciously accept a defeat. This exposure will set them up for a life time of both success and losses, and will teach him to not take either to heart.
Finally, though there are many physiological and mental effects for children who participate in youth sports. Children who participate in sports from a young age, according to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, will have an decreased risk of high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer. They’ll also be less likely to smoke, use drugs, or become addicted to alcohol. Physical activities trigger the release of endorphins in the brain, chemicals that boost your mood and help prevent conditions like depression and anxiety. A University of Florida study reported that children who participate in youth sports develop higher self-esteem, increased confidence, and a better body imagine when compared to those who don’t participate.
Now, these are all things that most of us know, but we wanted to take a second for talk about balance, because there is a flip-side to this, where there is the possibility of sports negatively affecting the physical and mental well-being of children. What you should do is pay attention to the needs and wants of your child. There are three important areas that will positively or negatively affect your child: intensity, continuity, and balance.
Putting high pressure on your child to spend long hours on a given sport can end up negatively impacting their future success. No one can tell you how many hours per week your child should spend playing sports, but be open and communicative with your child’s feeling. He or she will likely let you know how they’re feeling.
Consistency is key to a child’s development. Being inconsistent can lead to a child falling behind and developing negative attitudes towards themselves, sports, and others. Studies show that during middle and high school, consistent dedication to staying physically active is a lot more beneficial than inconsistent participation.
Most studies will show you that youth who participate in activities other than their sport will have greater developmental outcomes than children who only spend time in their sport. Having a balanced lifestyle, at all stages in life, is desirable. Further, children who have a variety of sports to participate in will achieve greater success than those who immediately specialize. We even wrote a blog about it! You can view that HERE.