Why Kids Should Play Sports: 10 Must-Know Benefits
When kids play sports, they are given the opportunity to learn fundamental life skills that they can carry on into adulthood.
With a safe and structured environment, they can learn social skills, improve their physical health, and much more.
In this day and age, where our children are growing up with a tablet in one hand and a smartphone in the other, it's important for parents to realize the detrimental impact screen time can have on a child's developing brain and body.
One way that parents can address this issue is by introducing their children to youth sports.
Playing with your children and encouraging physical activity at a young age can instill that joy that they will continue to seek out in organized sports.
Team sports have been shown to have many benefits for kids and with youth sports programs shutting down in recent years due to the pandemic, kids have shown a loss of interest in returning.
Luckily, there are also numerous professional athletes out there that can serve as great role models for our children.
If they are exposed to sports at a young age, there is a higher chance of them having healthier and more fulfilling lives.
There are plenty of reasons why kids should play sports, and in this article, we'll go over the most important benefits they can receive.
What are the benefits kids get from playing sports?
The benefits of competitive sports as a child range from physical to psychological.
Within those aspects are further specific advantages that will help kids as they grow into adulthood.
Teaching these types of values at a young age can increase healthiness generationally.
Here are the top 10 reasons why kids should play sports.
A skill that is essential in many facets of life and especially in many work environments, learning teamwork through team sports is one of the most important benefits that kids can learn from playing sports.
In school and careers, there are very few paths where people will work in isolation. There is usually some form of teamwork that must take place.
Playing team sports can teach kids that they are valued by their peers and reduce the effects of bullying, in turn, raising their self-confidence.
A team environment can be great for kids that are shy or introverted because they can build a sense of comradery and learn the importance of working together.
Read our related article on training youth athletes. Learn the best methods for training youth athletes in this complete guide!
2. Leadership skills
With team sports and teamwork comes the inherent role of leadership.
Whether a kid becomes a team captain or naturally takes on a leadership role in which their teammates look to them, leadership skills are a great benefit that will also set a child up for success in the future.
This may also teach kids that are normally not comfortable taking this roll that it is okay to ask for and receive advice from their peers.
3. Development of social skills
Getting your child involved in team sports like the Little League—or any youth sports for that matter— is a great way for them to develop social skills.
This correlates hand-in-hand with teamwork.
Sports activities are extremely social at their root, especially in a team environment.
Children must learn to socialize at a young age to improve communication skills that will benefit them later on in life.
In sports they will be constantly interacting with their teammates and coaches.
Knowing the appropriate and different ways to communicate with their teammates, as opposed to their coaches, will be a valuable lesson when they enter the work field as adults.
4. Physical fitness
Physical fitness for young kids is one of the main reasons why kids should play sports.
Childhood obesity is a real issue in the United States, and this disease affects 1 in 5 American children.
Children from the ages 6-17 should get at least 1 hour of physical activity per day, and a great way to ensure that happens is through youth sports.
With the onset of the pandemic, sedentary lifestyle in children increased which can cause serious future health issues like high blood pressure.
Active children can oftentimes find themselves in a sports activity later on in college that can be beneficial in many ways.
Check out our related article where we discuss youth sports insurance. Injuries happen, which is why it's good to have your youth athlete insured!
5. Can help with academics
When kids play sports, it's been shown that they improve and develop their cognitive skills.
In doing so, children from the ages of 5 to 10 showed an improvement in their grades, test scores, and attitude in the classroom.
This can extend into high school, where high school athletes are more likely to go on to attend college compared to their non-athletic peers.
Students who excel in sports can also receive a college scholarship catered towards athletics that will cover portions of tuition and fees.
Many people credit their athletic careers in high school or college as teaching them valuable lessons for success in their professional work careers.
6. Long lasting friendships
Another great benefit for kids who play sports is the ability to form long-lasting friendships.
It can sometimes be difficult for kids to find new friends and team sports can be a great outlet for this.
The shared enjoyment a child can get from playing a sport with their peers is often the perfect basis for a friendship.
Interacting during and after practice and at games can lead to friendships on and off the field or court.
There are not many bonds like the one you can form with the teammates you grew up playing your favorite sport with.
7. Keeps them busy
As a parent, it can be hard to find the right after-school activities to have your kids involved in.
If you're not able to find something that works with your schedule, that can sometimes lead to the unhealthy habits such as hours of video games or phone screen time.
With youth sports, they are in an environment that is safe, educational, and that promotes physical activity.
Once they reach high school, this will also help them learn time management as they will have a larger workload in regard to homework and extracurricular activities.
Kids become very curious at this age, sometimes to their detriment, so sports can keep them out of trouble, as well.
Read More: Round robin scheduling. We share our favorite tips for effective round-robin scheduling!
8. Develops healthy competitiveness
Competition is everywhere in this world, whether that is the workplace to get a promotion or at school in a spelling bee.
Youth sports will teach kids the importance of competitiveness against other teams but also instill the drive to compete with oneself—in other words, the confidence to challenge oneself and always be improving.
It's hard to get anywhere in life when you lack the self-esteem to compete with others for what you want.
A healthy dose of competition at a young age can go a long way in becoming a successful and fulfilled person.
9. Psychological benefits
Mental and emotional health is extremely important for the youth in this day and age.
Having a team sport where they can have a sense of community and support from their peers can have a profound impact on improving mental health.
Basketball, football, baseball, and soccer are all exceptional sports where kids can gain confidence, resilience, and improved body images.
People that stay healthy physically have better chances of healthy mental and emotional well-being.
10. Commitment and discipline
When you participate in team sports you are expected to be there for your team physically and in spirit.
Kids can quickly learn the importance of commitment by being present and active in their practices and games.
They will learn discipline by following the rules of the game and building habits that will allow them to excel in their sport.
These qualities are aspects that both non-athletes and teen athletes can share, but involvement in sports, especially in a person's teenage years can strengthen them significantly.
Having to go to school, practice, and then do homework in one day is a full-time commitment that will prepare them for life as an adult.
Watch this video for more reasons why kids should play sports:
If you're a coach or coach assistant, read our article on sports team management apps to make scheduling games, practices, and other events more organized!
As you can see, the benefits of having kids in sports activities are extensive.
Physical activity on a regular basis is crucial to a child's development and a common goal for the world should be to make it easier for all parents to be able to provide their children with outlets to play sports.
It's no surprise that many kids spend too much time in a sedentary lifestyle but sports are the perfect solution.
With a little help from parents and communities around the world, we can get on the right track to promoting a healthier and more active lifestyle for our children so that they can have the best future possible.
Jeff Tipper is an avid sports fan who has a strong passion for basketball. A graduate of the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor's Degree in Operations Management, Jeff has experience in operations and claim processing and spends his free time writing articles and blogs focused on sports and various business topics.