Are you thinking of getting your children into competitive sports? Congrats on taking the first step! According to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, Nutrition Science Board (PCSFN), playing competitive sports during childhood brings a positive impact on kids as well as entire communities.
The benefits of competitive sports for youth are significant to both a child’s physical and mental health. But there are even more perks beyond a great mind and body. Keep reading to find out all the pros of competitive sports!
1. Academic Improvement
Think that sports would be too big of a commitment or distraction from your child’s schoolwork? Think again! Playing sports requires memorization, time-management, goal setting, and determination—valuable skills in academics.
The Journal of School Health found that children who participate in team sports earn a higher overall GPA and have up to 40% higher test scores. Many parents value the discipline and dedication their children learn from playing competitive sports. Children who play sports are also less like to drop out of school and are 15% more likely to go to college.
Fighting for a common goal with a team teaches kids how to effectively communicate and problem-solve. Even if children don’t get along with everyone on the team, they learn to prioritize the good of the team over disagreements. After all, they’re all uniting for a common goal: winning the game!
Playing competitive sports also teaches children accountability. Children recognize how they can improve and what went wrong during a game to do better the next time they play. No more blaming others for their mistakes; they are likely to learn that sometimes, we all make mistakes and are working on being the best humans we can be.
Besides fitness goals, playing sports promotes healthy decision making. Consistent exercise is immensely beneficial to anyone’s health.
The National State of Play Report found that active youth have lower healthcare costs and reduce their risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes as they age.
Another physical benefit of playing sports regularly? A boosted immune system. Exercise helps immune systems get moving and more effectively defend the body from germs.
4. Boost Self-Esteem
Achieving sport or fitness goals encourages kids to achieve other goals they set with confidence—a rewarding and exciting learning process. Kids, especially girls, were found to have a more positive outlook on their self-image. Consistent validation from hearing “good game” or specific feedback can show kids that they are a valuable part of the team.
Of course, this depends on finding the right fit for your child. Help them find a team with healthy teamwork and listening dynamics for a supportive environment. You also need to find a team with a supportive coach. Nothing fizzles out enthusiasm like constant negative feedback and unnecessary pressure.
5. Stress Relief
Exercising is a natural way to relieve stress, reducing cortisol and adrenaline while boosting endorphins. Focusing on one task, especially exercise, is like a form of meditation. You’re not focusing on the negatives...only play!
The team environment also provides a support system for your child to rely on when they need it. When stressed, your child can hang out with a friend or two to talk and play it out.
6. Spend All of That Extra Energy!
Kids are bundles of energy and have a developmental need for play. Regularly scheduled practices and games can give your child the perfect outlet for all that energy.
7. More Likely to Be Engaged with Their Community
Beyond individual benefits, kids playing competitive sports means a higher likelihood of being responsible and engaged citizens. Research indicates that participating in sports, especially during high school, leads to a higher percentage of voter registrations, volunteer hours, and other types of civic engagement in a community.
8. Build Great Habits…For Life
Active kids turn into active adults! The effects of playing competitive sports last long into adulthood, with 73% of adults who played sports of children still actively playing today.
The NPR and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that over 50% of adults believe they have less stress in their life thanks to playing sports.
The cooperation, teamwork, and positive self-image from playing as children can create mature, capable adults in the workplace. You won’t have to worry about your child’s ability to have a successful career and positive outlook on life, even when times get tough. They will always strive to be the best version of themselves.
Convinced and ready to help your child pick their first sport? Are you overwhelmed by all the choices? Check out our blog about picking the best sport for your kid! No matter which one they choose, all the above benefits still apply no matter what they play.
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