When you were young, do you remember how strong you felt when your team’s practices finally paid off? Or a moment of defeat when you had to learn to how lose gracefully? These are the kinds of important lessons that are reinforced to children through team sports. When children participate in these activities, they improve their self-esteem, confidence, social skills, and learn how to set and accomplish long-term goals.
Commitment & Discipline
Commitment is integral to a successful sports team. When one player decides not to show up to practice, or attends but does not play with integrity, the whole team suffers. Children quickly learn the importance of showing up, putting in their full effort, and persevering in order to achieve their goals. Nothing feels worse than getting benched because you missed too many practices…
Confidence & Self-Esteem
Research shows that early participation in sports helps children develop important leadership qualities–namely, confidence and self-esteem. In a study by Collins et al. (2018) on the effects of sports participation and self-esteem, the psychologists found that university students who had participated in sports in their youth had significantly higher self-esteem ratings than those students who did not. Sports set up children for improved psychological well-being for the rest of their lives.
Social Skills & Teamwork
Sports create an environment for children in which they must bond and interact with their teammates. Through working together with other children and with their coaches, they develop team-building and communication skills that will help them both on and off the field.
Exercise inherently helps children’s school performance and their ability to maintain focus. According to a study by Singh et al. (2012), even the consistent physical activity alone leads to improved concentration and cognition in the classroom. Sports may also help children develop time-management skills and initiative that carry over to their education.
Researches in Singh’s study also found that group sports contribute to better moods and lifelong lower cardiovascular health risks. And more than physical activity alone, children are more likely to learn about eating nutritiously to support their performance and to set up a foundation for a healthy lifestyle. In particular, swimming a sport that can be practiced throughout one’s life with significant health benefits.
Team sports are a fantastic way to boost children’s mental and social development at school. If it’s difficult for you to find a sport for your child that sticks, try sending him or her home with another friend who has a different sports practice. Oftentimes children are more drawn to the sports that their friends play, plus you’ll already have a carpool buddy from the outset!